Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Am I really a writer?

Since I've restarted my career, I'm astonished at how little time I spend actually writing. I have about 12 hours of "writing" time a week, but I spend probably a good 7-8 hours simply researching. Researching topics to write about, researching publications to write for, researching the best experts for a story, or researching the most interesting angle on a subject. And when I'm not researching, I'm not writing articles or essays, but query letters!

Can this be good? Am I doing this write? (sorry) Perhaps it would be smarter to adhere to a more rigid writing schedule? Say, 40% research, 40% query letter, 20% writing. If there are any freelancers reading, I would love to hear about the percentage of time you spend researching vs. the time the spend you spend writing, and whether and why you're satisfied with that.

I have to admit, a great part of me is rankled by the small amount of writing I do, not just because I love to write and want to do it, but because I have so little to show for all the work I do. For example, last week my great accomplishment was to finish a kick-ass pitch letter for a national pregnancy magzine. I was quite pleased with myself because it contained a great quote from an expert, three quotes from "real life" women, and promised quotes and advice from four other experts whom I had already contacted and requested interviews. (I signed up with http://www.profnet.com/ - a fantastic resource for finding experts!) I even had the query vetted by the very excellent Renegade Writer Linda Formichelli through her phone mentoring program. But now, almost a week has passed without hearing anything from the pregnancy magazine (normal, I know) and with every day that slips by, I feel more and more like I didn't actually accomplish anything at all last week. Sigh.

Anyway, onward and upward. I'm off to the U.S. for the next month, so my biggest challenge will be continuing to "write" while away.

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