Back to School Means Back to Work: What My Writing Work Days Will Look Like

My kids return to school for the first time since last year. Of course, last year was only a couple of weeks ago, but it feels like they've been tossing out the interruptions for close to a year.

I get it.

I use my kids being home all day as my excuse for not getting as much work done. But when every five minutes there is a new emergency that pulls me away from the keyboard that knocks me out of my writing groove, then when I solve that calamity, it takes a few minutes to get my focus back only for another hot and fresh distraction served right to me, then it is obvious who is the culprit for derailing my work day

But on Tuesday, I no longer have the kids excuse. They are back in school, and I have several hours a day where not a single kid will be roaming about the house. I'll have hyper dogs and someone still doing loud renovations on our house, but none of them threaten their sibling with safety scissors or sing about how they need me to print something right this moment.

It is now time to jump back into the rock and roll writing groove, and aim for this to be the most productive and prolific period of my career. One thing that I have learned over these past two years is the need to jump right into the important work and really devote time to major projects I am passionate about, because the kids could be stomping back to online learning at any point in the coming months.

With the kids back to in-person schooling, what does that mean for my career?

Why thank you for asking.

I keep mentioning having other things to do than write on this site, but I am not positive if I've ever outlined what my writing career currently looks like.

It must be noted that what my career looks like and especially what are the priorities, changes over time and I assume it will change many more times in the future. But for now, here are the major writing related things that I work on in order of priority.

1. Sales Copy. This is what I consider my 'day job.' Sales copy is everything from consulting to writing ads to creating 'call to action' pages (designed to get people to either join a mailing list or buy a membership or order a product or hop on one foot) to crafting brochures to writing SEO articles that draw people to a company site. There are hundreds of other things that I am creating and writing, but the point is I am writing stuff for businesses with the goal of selling something. This takes up most of my writing day, and it is also most of my writing income comes from this. My goal is that over the years the other writing on this list becomes more profitable for me, which allows me to devote more time to them. But for now, I am just thankful I get paid to write, and I am still able to use some of my creativity with this type of work.

2. Ghostwriting. This has really grown for me over the last five years, and maybe one day it will overtake sales copy. This usually consists of me writing an article or e-book for someone who is either considered an authority on the subject or is a major business owner or is a celebrity who then gets the byline and credit. Most readers believe that this person wrote the piece. This is well paying since I'm giving away complete rights to my work and also can't use it as a writing clip, since I can not s take credit for it. I've also ghostwritten several movie reviews, but again, I am not allowed to disclose the site. From my experience, this is a very word-of-mouth type gig.

3. Articles and Reviews for Magazines and Websites. This is probably closer to what people think about when they hear one is a writer. If you can land ongoing work for some of the major sites and magazines, then you can make a really nice living just doing this. But it is also a real hustle if you don't land a full-time job at a site, because you are constantly needing to pitch ideas and find fresh slants on things that are popular. There have been times in my career where this has been at my number one slot, and I was making a decent amount of money from it. It has really dipped over the past two years due to editors tightening up their freelance budgets. I still spend a decent amount of my week pitching ideas and talking to editors. I get full credit for this writing, but my rights to the work varies from publications.

4. Beyond the Balcony. My dream is for this site to become a major part of my career. Right now, I make absolutely no money off it. And due to numerous things, my readership has dipped, but I am confident the following will grow this year. The significant par of managing the site t is writing articles and reviews for it. I also need to spend a decent amount of time promoting the site, finding various different connections to extend reach, looking for various sponsors for revenue, working on the back end of the site (the technical parts) and growing the social media outlets of the site. A big part for the next several weeks is looking at the feasibility of moving hosts and working on various aspects to make it far more professional in appearance and function.

5. The Movie Breakdown. Podcasting isn't writing. I do a decent amount of preparation and research for the show, and I do write some show notes and outlines. As well, I work on the promotion, reaching out to guests and publicists, negotiating with potential sponsors, editing the show in various ways and various other behind the scenes things. 

6. Short Stories. Right now, it is the Toronto Star Short Story contest, but I would like to enter a few more contests this year. I also want to submit some fiction to various magazines and journals. I have never made a dime off fiction, but I am committed to making this a bigger part of my focus this year.

7. Novel. Being a novelist has been a life-long dream. If I want it to become a reality then I need to devote more time each week in finishing my manuscript, then refining it with several drafts and then pitching it to various literary agents. I will keep you updated on the progress of this dream.

8. Non-Fiction Book: As usual, I have a few ideas. I have decided to really focus on making one a reality for now. I am currently doing the research and formulating the bones of the book. I am going to start reaching out to experts to potentially interview and help me formulate the book and get the facts right. There is a strong chance that this may be published before my novel, just based off how pitching works with non-fiction compared to novels.

9.Ebook of Past Articles. My plan is to compile many of my past blog posts and some of the other articles that I've maintained the rights to turn into an e-book that I can sell on Amazon and such places. I am going through my favourite and best past pieces and choosing the works that can be considered evergreen. I will refine them and edit them to take away the dated aspects, and update them with newer information and fix things that were erroneous. Some of the articles will need almost no work and others are being significantly overhauled, and the plan is to add some bonus chapters as well. 

10. YouTube Videos. This is only last on my list, because I haven't started it yet. The hope is that it will be a cross-promotional piece with the site and podcast. I will do at least a weekly video series. I have a few ideas, and it is just a matter of finding the time to dig into it.

I am sure that I missed something significant that I do or that I want to do. These are the ten things that I will be focusing on over the next few months, and this is the stuff that I do when I say I am writing. Now, with the kids heading back, I should start rocking some of this stuff, and you will read about lot of it here on the site, as I share more of my writing journey.

So, what your plans for 2022?