Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome to Ericka Scott

Welcome to our Friday Friend, Ericka Scott, who is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. She's written stories for as long as she can remember and reads anything under the sun (including the back of cereal boxes in a pinch). She got hooked on romantic suspense in her college days, when reading anything but a textbook was a guilty pleasure. Now, when she’s not chauffeuring children around, wishing she had more than 24 hours in a day, or lurking at the library, she’s spinning her own web of fantasy and penning tales of seduction and suspense. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. Her upcoming release, Wild Ghost Chase, being published by L&L Dreamspell, will hit the shelves in the next few months.

Writing Schedules and How to Break Them
I’m sure you’ve all heard the old adage “Write everyday”
How important is that?

In my opinion, having a set writing schedule is a vital part of becoming a professional writer Elizabeth George says in Write Away, her book about the process of writing, ‘a lot of writing is being willing to show up day after day, same time, same place’. My personal writing schedule is from Monday to Friday, 10 am – 2 pm, which roughly coincides with when my kids are in school. I also endeavor to write a minimum of 100 words (or edit 5 pages if I’m in the editing phase) on the weekends.

However, when it comes to “writing”, my definition is a bit more flexible. I think that any activity dedicated to improving my craft or opening opportunities for my career count as “writing”. Yes, even doing taxes counts as a career activity. Included in my writing schedule is time for these other activities:

· Reading
Theoretically, you should be writing stories in the genre you most like to read. I encourage this for several reasons. One is so that you know the expectations of your audience. The second is to keep up with trends. If you write paranormal romance, you “know” vampires and werewolves are in. But will that trend continue? And is that the only trend out there? Steampunk, were-creatures, and Greek gods & goddesses are also quite popular. Gothic romances have been ‘out’ for quite some time, yet there is still a small audience craving them.

For all that, I’m not advocating that you only read what you write. Knowing what else is out there – thrillers, horror, literary, cozy mystery, Noir detective – and incorporating the things you enjoy about those genres into your work adds depth and originality to your stories.

· Continuing Education
The importance of continuing to learn to write better cannot be emphasized enough. Magazine articles, books, online courses, and participating in critique groups all play a part in advancing an author’s career. As such, they need to be scheduled (sometimes crow-barred) in. I feel learning is as important as writing, and will sometimes dedicate a whole week to reading articles.

Critique groups are invaluable. Some authors only utilize beta-readers, as they don’t feel they have the time to take away from their own writing to look at someone else’s work. I think this is a bit short sighted. I learn as much, or more, about writing and what works and doesn’t work from critiquing. If the words I write after the critique are better for what I’ve learned, it’s well worth ‘losing’ a day or two of writing, which for me equates from 100-1000 words.

· Vacations/Sick Days/Personal Days
Having a set writing schedule (and sticking to it) is all well and good until LIFE intervenes. Even in a normal 9-5 job, one is required to take time off for vacations, sick days, and personal days.

The same should go for your writing career. Yes, there are some really prolific writers who take a computer everywhere and write constantly. Nora Roberts writes 8 hours a day every day and I’ve heard anecdotes claiming she even writes while riding in the limo from the airport to conferences. Be as disciplined as you can…if you can only write one hour a day, make sure your butt is in your chair and you focus on your career for that hour.

I’ll admit that this year, I set about writing a minimum of 100 new words every single day, whether I did any other career-related activities or not. That lasted for a whole month…then LIFE intervened, and I had to take an unexpected 10 days off. My payoff for five years of fairly disciplined writing was that when I returned, I was able to pick up right where I’d left off (well, after wading through over 1,000 e-mails) and have been writing every day since.

It’s my view that authors who “write” every day will see positive changes in their manuscripts and their career. It’s worked for Nora Roberts and Stephen King…it can work for you!

Ericka also loves friends, so come friend her at
She's also on Facebook at and Twitter @ErickaScott
You can find out more about her books at

Many thanks for being with us today, Ericka - and for your very useful advice.  We wish you continued success with your books.


  1. Thank you for these words of wisdom, Ericka. I agree completely that critique group and CP feedback is valuable. I also know from teaching gardening and astrology classes that the teacher learns more than the students through having to stay ahead.
    I'm trying to write every day. I'm relieved you say 100 words is good. Sometimes that's all I can manage, and I felt that was not good enough.

  2. If you wrote only 100 words a day, you would still have a 36,500-word manuscript at the end of the year. I personally have never been able to write "just" 100 (some days its 125, some days it's 1250) -- so, you would have a book written by the end of the year. Not too shabby!

  3. Great advice, Ericka. I agree, writing every day by sticking to your schedule (as much as possible) does make it easier--and when I don't stick to that schedule, I miss it!

  4. Hi Ericka, and welcome to HWH.

    Very good tips, BTW, and as my husband always says: "he knows when I'm really ill, because I don't write a word". ;)


  5. Great advice, Ericka. I am a cereal box reader myself, so I can totally relate!

    I fine that setting small-steps-along-the-way goals help me as well. There are days when my day job takes up most of my time and I'm not able to hit the keyboard. Knowing I'm inching toward a goal helps to lessen the guilt!

  6. Very interesting post. Absolutely agree about continuing to hone your skills and grow as a writer. In my day job I'm expected to keep my knowledge current and attend courses, so why not as a writer?

  7. I like that writing-related activities count, especially for day-job holders like myself whose time is that much more limited b/c I get to write reports at home. (Those count ONLY when I can edit them down to fewer pages.) Lately I feel very challenged in the first-draft mode, so I've been spending time learning about networking, social media and platform. Glad to feel supported and that I'm not just making excuses not to write :)

    Joanna Aislinn
    Dream. Believe. Strive. Achieve!
    The Wild Rose Press

  8. I have been hit by the virus from heck this week and like Francine, haven't written a word. I have been doing other activities that "count".

    I have to remind myself constantly that being an author is more like a marathon than a sprint.

    Cheers to all of you and I wish you tons and tons of success with your writing!