THE WRITERLY LIFE
Hi! My name is Monica Leigh Bullock (aka M.L. Bullock) and I live a writerly life. I am a self-published author, wife, mom, sister and daughter and to say my life requires a bit of negotiation to keep on top of things is an understatement. But I am not complaining because I am living my dream and I am loving every minute of it! That is no exaggeration! This is what I am mean to do. I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning!
Welcome to my blog where I plan to get real with you and show you what a writerly life really looks like. When some people think about writers and how they work their craft they might drum up images of some creative person like Stephen King banging on a keyboard in some gorgeous studio overlooking an ocean or a forest of trees. Oh, but if that were the case!
While I would never do anything else but write--because I love it so much, the truth is it is messy. My walls are covered with dry erase boards, I have endless stacks of notes and research everywhere and bookcases full of “research” books. It can be confusing. And where I live I don’t often have the luxury of locking myself in a room and crafting the next bestseller. I live on a farm in southern Mississippi and yay, we have an open floor plan.
We moved here about a year ago and things are still quite new. We have a lot of wooded acreage and plenty of places to walk which is a plus and there is such beauty all around me. I feel blessed to have this lovely natural space to work in but I’m not a natural born country girl although I’m adapting to it. The truth is I’ve always been near the ocean. Born on island and have lived near an island for quite some time. I miss the ocean but sometimes when I’m sitting on my screened in porch overlooking the acres of wooded land behind our home I can almost hear the ocean when the wind blows through the treetops. And besides the water is only about an hour away so don’t feel sorry for me.
So what does the writerly life look like? Well, for me it starts pretty early in the morning. After I get my teenage son to school I come back to my front room/office drink my coffee and began answering emails and posting on my social media sites. This usually takes me an hour or two but I love connecting with fans. I’m not complaining. Then my goal is to write about 3000 words before noon. It might sound pretty impressive but I use a very detailed outline so there’s not a lot of guesswork left in my writing time. As I always have another book pending I never run out of things to write.
After my writing session, I may do one or two things. (Drink more coffee.) Go back and edit what I wrote or spend more time working on a new outline or doing some research for a future projects. I plan to go into more detail on these tasks sometime in the future. Just to help along any aspiring writers that might be out there. (Hello? Are you there or am I just talking to myself?)
As a self-published author all of the responsibilities of marketing all on my shoulders. If I went the traditionally-published route I would’ve had someone do this for me but from what I hear, that’s not always the case. Unlike some authors I have no problem with marketing. I’ve been publishing books since 2014 but I’ve been writing content for various websites since 2008. One thing I learned along the way was if you don’t promote your articles/reports/books no one will find you. Way back in my Yahoo days, (don’t hate) promotion was a big part of my job. Not only did I have to sell Yahoo on my ideas but after they accepted them (sometimes they did!) I had to promote them. The better the promotion the more eyes read my article, the more money I was paid. And although I don’t write novels with dollar signs in my eyes or little sticky notes all over my desk covered with dollar signs this is how I make a living and how I support my family and my farm so I have to be mindful about marketing. (Did I mention I have over 50 baby chicks to support?) So I have to be very deliberate and market my books constantly. That takes up a lot of time.
Being a writer has changed so many things for me. It has given me confidence in my own writing abilities of course but it is improved to me in other ways too. I am a for-real introvert and it takes a lot of energy for me to share space with real actual people. However, as a writer, I found an online community of like-minded people online I feel stronger because I belong to this larger group. Being a writer is kind of like being a wolf. You spend a lot of time alone but once in a while you join the pack just to see what’s happening. (At least that’s my take on wolves.)
So if you’re reading this and you’re not just a fan but an aspiring writer I encourage you to do what it is you love to do. A writerly life is a good life and although none of us do things exactly the same we are creatives and that in itself is an amazing thing.
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