Part 2 in the series, “Making Work Less Tedious When It’s Time to Churn Words”
Having earned some money and having attended to the day’s correspondence, I would then focus on something monumental. I would stay focused on one writing project and move it as far forward as possible. If I was working on a short story, I’d stay at it for two hours. If it was a novel, I’d concentrate on a single chapter. If it was an interview assignment, I’d transcribe my tapes and start working on the first draft of the profile. To the best of my ability, I would not let anything interrupt me until time for lunch. I’d then be ready for a physical and mental break. Writing is draining, folks.
After a modest lunch, I’d stay away from the office for a couple of hours. I’d go to the basement and exercise on the treadmill or stationary bike and then shower and shave.
Perhaps I would do some pleasure reading. I might make phone calls, maybe watch a little bit of TV, or do yard work. Around 3:45 p.m. my two kids would come home, and I’d help them with homework, run them to the library or sports practices, and we’d all have dinner together.
Later in the evening, I would go back to my office for another three hours. Why, you may ask, did I break the day into two parts? Well, first, because I was brain-fried after four hours of office work. Second, I had to attend to other functions and responsibilities in life. And third, I needed distance from what I’d done that morning.
Once back in the office at night, I would start to edit the work I’d written that morning. I’d read it aloud. I’d copy-edit it. I’d double-check facts and name spellings and statistics and quotations. If fiction, I’d act out scenes, checking the stage movements and listening to the dialogue. Sometimes my work was so brilliant, I’d produce seven pages of print-ready material. Other times it was so horrific, I’d scrap almost all of it. But even the pitched material got me closer to the end product. To sell words, you have to churn words. Continually.
Next week, “Dealing with Grunt Work”
Dennis E. Hensley, PhD, is director of the professional writing department at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and an annual judge for the Evangelical Press Association Awards and the Christy Fiction Awards. His five dozen books include:
- Jesus in All Four Seasons: Having Christ as Your Life Coach
- Jesus in the 9 to 5: Facing the Challenges of Today’s Business World
- How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It
- Man to Man: Becoming the Believer God Called You to Be
- More Than Meets the Eye: Finding an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Life
- Alpha Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 Hours
- Surprises and Miracles of the Season: Devotions for Christmas and New Year’s
- The Power of Positive Productivity
© 2015 by Dennis E. Hensley. All rights reserved.