One question I get asked quite often, though it’s not the most asked question, is:
“How are you so prolific?”
Sometimes it comes in a different form (e.g. “How do you write so many books?”) but the essence of the question is the same. Many other writers want to know how I started publishing in 2018 and I have nearly 20 titles to my name (erm, pen name), with more than a dozen in the works.
When I’m completely at a loss for what to blog about each Tuesday, sometimes I Google: “What should writers blog about?” One thing that shows up on every single list is: “Write about your day as a writer.”
Huh. Well, I can do that. And I can also answer the question about how I’m so prolific at the same time.
Two birds. One stone. I feel so productive already!
I feel that one of my trademarks is that I’m usually bluntly honest about what my life as a writer is like. So, I’m going to be really real again with all of you today.
My writing life is best described as disorganized and chaotic. However, I have two writing lives.
On good days, I have structure and set hours; I hit my goals and expected productivity. I’m focused and determined and things go well all day long. It’s like having a regular job, but I’m paid to create and nobody tells me what to do (don’t tell The Lion Fish Press I said that).
On bad (or just not good days), I work 20 hours a day just trying to make one thing work. My hours are erratic, my mind is scattered, projects are not getting completed, and I feel like I should just give up on the whole thing. Yes, even somewhat established authors feel that way sometimes.
Nevertheless, let’s talk about Good Days.
On good days, I get up with my husband and we have breakfast and coffee. We talk about the day ahead, laugh and tell jokes. Feed our dog. I make his lunch to take to work. He gets a shower. I see him out the door, and then I wash up dishes, do a few other necessary chores, get a shower, and then I sit down at my computer in the office.
I try to make myself write 5k words a day. I write between 1 million and 2 million words a year. I know–that seems like a lot. However, I made a deal with myself early on. I just have to write 5k words a day. Quality doesn’t matter. That can be dealt with in editing. But an author needs scenes to work with to have a story, so the words have to be written. Ultimately, between 100k and 200k words of mine from the year actually get used. The rest go to the manuscript graveyard in the sky.
This part of my day takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.
Then I answer emails from readers, my imprint, other writers, people with writing/business opportunities, and so forth. I go through emails and other materials sent to me by my imprint. I answer any correspondence I get through this website. I go through physical mail I’ve received. Sign copies of books that need to be mailed out. I write blog posts, guest blog posts, write the text to send to my imprint to create newsletters, approve cover designs, promo materials…this all takes about 2 hours of my day. Usually.
Somewhere in all of that, I take 30 minutes to have a decent lunch away from my computer. I take my dog outside for a bathroom break. And sometimes I squeeze in some games of Among Us with other writers who are as geeky as I am.
I play on Twitter and promo. I answer tweets, reply to tweets that interest me, and check in with my online friends whom I cherish.
About that time, my husband is walking in the door and we start dinner.
That’s my schedule for a Good Day.
On a Bad Day…well, just throw all of that in a blender and see what comes out. I write in spurts when I can, personal stuff gets in the way (emergency vet visits, doctor visits, too many delivery people at the door, a pipe is leaking under the sink…you get the idea), and I just do the best I can. At times, I have to stay up well after my husband has crawled into bed so that I can hit my word goal for the day. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes emails don’t get responded to for 48 hours. Sometimes my imprint has to call and make sure I’m alive because I’m not responding to or completing tasks in a timeframe that we’ve set. Failure happens.
I just try harder the next day.
Being a work-at-home writer, the onus is often placed on me to make sure mine and my husband’s home life goes smoothly. Don’t get me wrong–my husband is wonderful–but being home all day, it is understandable that I will be the first line of defense in handling unexpected events in our lives. Those things get in the way of my workday. It is what it is.
Now that you understand my work day–regardless of how well it goes–let me address the prolific question.
In all of that, did you see me mention children? Or a separate day job? I write full-time from home. I don’t have children to care for all day long. I have my dog and my husband, and while they are a handful, they don’t need me watching over them like children would. I have a lot of time to myself to focus on my writing.
Also, when I started publishing independently in May of 2018, I had 10 or more manuscripts completed, ready to be beta-read, developmental edited, edited, formatted, and published. I’d written at least 10 books that were good enough to consider publishing.
I started writing when I was a teenager. Writing was my escape. Something I did to pass boring afternoon hours or hours at night when I couldn’t sleep. To escape life. I scratched out ideas and scenes in classes and at the kitchen table after school. I was always writing. Notebook upon notebook was filled with scenes and full stories. By the time I published my first book, I’d been writing for 12 years. I’d just never formally published…anything…before then.
When I finally found the courage to put myself out there, my proverbial gun was locked and loaded.
The proliferation of my catalog wasn’t something magical and I’m not really sixteen raccoons in a trench coat.
I don’t have ghost writers or extra fingers on my hands or extra arms or a magic wand–all things that have been speculated about on Twitter at some point or another. I’m just “Chase Connor.”
Just one dumb writer dude (see what I did there?) who has been writing for 14 years, writes 1-2 million words a year, and hustles like the rent was due yesterday.
Sure, I have an amazing developmental editor who helps me figure out my stories and organize my thoughts. I have plenty of beta-readers who graciously share their thoughts and critiques with me. But there’s no secret to what I’m doing. It’s lots of support. No children demanding hours out of my day. I have the privilege of getting to do this all day from home. It’s hard work that I’m fortunate enough to get to do mostly unencumbered.
And I fucking love it.
Even on the Bad Days.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,