Thursday, 10 July 2014

Before I'm Sucked Into Another Writer’s Dream

by Lilly Cain

We’re talking on the blog over the next bit about jobs and writing – how they relate and how they don’t. For me, although the least like writing job I’ve done is international banking (the paperwork kills all the glory of moving gold from one country to another). But over the last few years I’ve moved my life completely into the publishing industry. What I mean by that is my day job is being an editor.

I work as a freelance editor under my real identity, Nancy Cassidy, and as a managing editor for a small press.  I’ve learned a huge amount over the last few years editing. What makes a strong POV. How you can slip from one tense to another, or hover on the edge and why it doesn’t work. Why stories sometimes start at the wrong part and how to avoid info dumps, and so much more.

But the truth is, my day job is bad for writing. I’ve been struggling since I went full time as an editor, to write. I put so much concentration into other people’s work that my creativity is drained and I am influenced by their style. I’m drawn into my client’s story and pushed out of my own.

Since this is an ongoing issue, I’ve started to develop some coping techniques. I think some of you will be familiar with these as they relate to inspiration and goal setting. Every writer looks for ways to keep inspired – refilling their well by taking breaks, reading something they enjoy, seeing a movie, going for a walk. And every writer needs set, achievable goals to work toward. But sometimes even that doesn’t work. Sometimes I just need to wait until my current editing project is complete before I can tackle my own words.

My favorite trick and what seems to work best is to begin my own writing in the morning, before I do anything else. I read the last five pages I wrote, check my plot plan and write before and then I write before anyone can get to me, or I am sucked into another writer’s dream.  :)

I think it is really the same struggle everyone has sooner or later – how to make writing fit into their life. We all have distraction – day jobs, kids, family, friends, health issues – so many things that take our attention. So I look for focus. I need quiet so I have to hide in my bedroom during the summer months away from the kids. Even the library has become too busy. But somehow I make it work, bit by bit.

Hope you all have a great writing summer!

Lilly Cain


  1. I bet every writer who reads this will relate to it!

  2. Great advice, Nancy. I have to write first thing in the morning too, before all the other stuff crams into my brain.

  3. Glad to see you're finding ways to make it work!