Full-time? You’re a full-time writer?
Well, yes, I am – writer, editor, press coordinator – but it’s not what you think. A thousand words per day, and time for leisurely lunches and long walks to get the creative juices flowing? Ha!
Most days I wake up at six, without an alarm or the cat encouraging me. I get up, yawn, wander into my study, wake up the computer, and sit down to do social media for an hour. The cat helps, or hinders; mostly she hinders, walking on the keyboard and blocking the external screen. I persuade her to settle on my left shoulder and type one-handed. I update and respond on Twitter and Facebook. I answer emails. I find news stories related to writing or to my historical period and add them to my feeds. I update Twitter again.
Then it’s coffee and breakfast. My husband and I may have exchanged a few words by now. Then I look at my very long to-do list, and my week’s priorities, and due dates and deadlines, and decide what I’m actually doing today. The collective press I coordinate has a book launch coming up in three weeks, and we’re attending a book fair in two. I’ve dealt with most of the immediate issues for both of those, and it’s too early to send out press releases about the book launch. Posters can wait until next week – more than two weeks’ notice, and they get lost in the huge number of events happening in our artsy town. But I still have to design those posters, so I can’t wait too long. I star that on my to-do list for Monday.
I have a semi-annual report to write for the community newsletter I chair, but that too can wait a few days. My priority today is to read the revised chapter one of our authors has sent me: we are meeting tomorrow to discuss her book. In our collective, she’s our face-to-face publicity person, our extrovert who MC’s book launches and fronts the table at book fairs. Her book is our first foray into non-fiction: it’s a look at using improv in the workplace to build teams. It needs a very different internal layout than a novel, and I’m doing a lot of research and consulting, both into appropriate layouts and programs with which to do this.
That will take a couple of hours. The cat will attempt to help. My ADHD mind will generate random thoughts and ideas and snippets of dialogue related to my own work-in-progress at any moment, so I have sticky notes to hand; they decorate the frame of my external screen like mustard fields in flower seen from a plane.
I try to get up every half-hour or so. Usually I stay in my pajamas till mid-morning, then shower and dress. I do laundry; I do bits of dinner prep, I water plants or pick tomatoes. Sitting for long periods is NOT good. The Pomodoro method more-or-less works for me, unless I’m so focused I just turn off or tune out the alarm.
Having written this blog entry, I’m off to start the focaccia I’m making for tonight’s dinner, and have my shower while the yeast is rising. Then I’ll jot down any thoughts that occurred while I was showering, put on some music, and make the bread. Then I’ll begin the chapter review. Once I’ve analyzed the chapter, written notes and the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, I’ll take a longer break, for coffee; maybe I’ll read an article in Medieval Warfare or another few pages in the research paper on land rights in early-medieval England I’m slowly getting through.
And then I get to work on my book for an hour!