There are so many misconceptions about what my days look like. If you ask my parents, they’ll tell you I sit and twiddle my thumbs, just waiting for them to call. If you ask my kids, they might say that I’m just scrolling through Facebook and laughing at memes. But, the reality is that my schedule as a full-time author changes as often as phases of the moon. I’ll try to give you an example.
This morning, was a good “writing” day. I was awoken by my loveable Doxie, Cooper, who decided that my pillow had suddenly changed into his bed and, therefore, my head was in his way. At least he woke me with gentle licks to my closed eye to let me know I was in his spot. After rising, I was greeted by my husband who lovingly made me coffee. (I choose to believe this was out of love rather than self-preservation.) The television was blaring the usual doomsday prophecies as I sat with my creamy cup of heaven at my computer, balanced on the edge of the couch. By seven a.m., I was checking out any emails I may have received overnight.
By, seven-thirty, the youngest of my brood was trudging downstairs, bleary-eyed, but ready for football practice. After a few minutes (nearly thirty) of shared conversation with my boy – moms of teen boys will realize how rare, special and important this thirty minutes can be – he headed out the door. This is the reason, emails come first each day. There was no chance I would miss what might be the only “real” conversation I get each day with my youngest as he’s splitting his time between football practices, his girlfriend and his job.
The next ninety minutes is spent between grabbing a second cup of Joe, chatting with my husband before he heads out the door and various “little” writing tasks. Today is was putting together a media packet, a social media post, checking on running ads for my books and altering an upcoming release date as well as re-reading two chapters of a previously released book (this comes into play later). During that time, I also brushed said alarm clock/dog, fed our senior dog, picked up the kitchen clutter that accumulated after I went to bed last night and had a little breakfast.
After breakfast, provided there are no phone calls to be made (Mom, I’m looking at you!), I’ll get down to “work.” This is the work everyone assumes writers do, the actual sitting at the keyboard and typing. Right now, I’m doing a round of edits on a book coming out later this Fall. A third round of edits, before it even goes to the editor. Because, like so many other authors, the first draft that seemed so wonderful as it spilled out was crap. And the second draft to clean up the crap still left me with a smelly mess. But, that is how every draft feels. (Being book #21, I’m used to this and understand my process, including the thought processes I go through.)
I’ll pause to have lunch before diving in again for another hour or so when I’ll take a break to get my workout in. While that’s an hour of my day, it turns into two by the time I take a shower and get back to the computer. This is also right about the time family starts getting home and interruptions commence making afternoons the best time for me to work on plotting and editing. While both of these require some concentration, I won’t feel resentful for being jerked from my “zone” with each distraction. This usually continues until dinner at which point, I switch to reading. That might mean a novel or non-fiction title. Right now, I’m reading a grand total of four books – one on building characters, one on marketing, one a romantic suspense, and one a contemporary romance. I’ll pick whichever suits my current need/want.
If I’m lucky, I’ll end the evening with a glass of wine and a soak in the tub while the dear man who loves me does the dishes. Lately, thanks to a stray making her home in our garage, it means playing with a kitten while Mama Kitty eats and dear Cooper whines outside the door to come in and play too.
The next day? Well, tomorrow will bring an entirely different schedule. One where I’m up at the crack of dawn, driving forty minutes to work with three horses before driving forty minutes home, having lunch and trying to get all of the above done in only three hours. Then there are errands to run, coffee shop writing days with fellow local authors and aspiring authors, family events (like the graduations and parties this month has piled on) and a conference or two. Unlike an 8-5 job, which I had for years, there is nothing static about writing full-time and that constant state of flux is both a blessing and a curse. But it’s one I wouldn’t trade for any amount of predictability.