The second interview in the series, How Writers Work, is with Edie Melson. Edie is a full-time writer and she gives us some great insight into her working life.
Edie Melson is the author of four books, as well as a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, TheWrite Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue RidgeMountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also the social media columnist for SouthernWriters Magazine and social media coach for My Book Therapy. Connect with her through Twitter and Facebook.
Please, give us a brief description of your current life situation.
My husband and I both work at home—we’ve shared an office for the past 15 years. Our three sons are grown and I’m experiencing a lot of freedom to schedule my time.
Outside of writing deadlines—when all schedules get thrown out—I’m very strict about scheduling my day. Here’s my schedule:
My Daily Schedule
· 8 – 9: I answer email (I have two accounts), and I use Hootsuite to schedule my main social media for the entire day. I use this hour to get connected.
· 9 – 11:30: I use this time as my creative writing time, because it’s the time when I’m most creative.
· 11:30 – 12: I answer emails and phone calls that have come in and check FB, Twitter and my blog.
· 12-1: lunch.
· 1-3 I: work on things that have a deadline and once a week write all my blog posts during this time.
· 3:30 – 4: I again check email, phone messages, FB, Twitter and my blog. Then, before I go to bed again check email, FB, Twitter and my blog.
· Also, about once an hour I get up and walk around to relieve my back and when I sit back down, I check Hootsuite. That way, if anyone has mentioned me or retweeted something I can reply. It’s important to keep the conversation going throughout the day and this is how I do it. BUT, I only allow myself 5-10 minutes each hour or two.
By accepting assignments and turning things in on time. Blogging on a schedule has also helped as well. But the best way to develop discipline is practice.
What would you advise to those who want to go full-time? What should be in place before someone takes this leap?
I think you need to prove to yourself you’ll spend the time you need marketing. So many people I talk to want to write full-time, but they’re not willing to send out queries to get the work. They want someone to drop it from the sky. Full-time anything is hard work and takes dedication.
If you’re not already sending out queries and writing regularly, get started. As a full-time writer, you’ll need to spend about 50% of your time marketing. That’s true whether you write books or are a full-time freelancer.
I built my career on social media—and I’m not talking about becoming a social media expert. I built my platform using my blog, Twitter and Facebook. When I was freelancing full-time (I now write books full-time) I got at least 60% of my clients from people who visited my blog. Then, when I switched to writing books, the fact that I had a solid, viable platform made me attractive to potential publishers.
I don’t, however, recommend writers spend the majority of their time building social media. Do it CONSISTENTLY for about 30 minutes a day and within a year you’ll also have a solid platform.
Thanks, Edie. That was great info. Edie has also written a book about social media, especially for writers: Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. I reviewed it on this blog, check it out.
How about you? What is or would be your greatest challenge as a full-time writer?