So, you’re curious about me, are you? About my daily life? (If you’re not, just smile and nod.) Or maybe you’ve seen a meme or two and you wonder “what DOES a writer really do all day?” Well, the answer is different depending on who you ask, but for me, it’s all about freedom (and yet structure), having lots of ‘me time’ (while still accomplishing goals), and procrastinating on everything (but still getting it all done).
I’m an INTJ. What can I say?
The early bird gets the words
Some writers like to write at night. Me? I like to sit down and write as soon as I get up. Whenever that turns out to be. My schedule has been different lately. I don’t have to get up in the morning for work, but I don’t like to sleep all day. I don’t like to nap either. When I’m awake, I’m awake and I want to be doing something with my brain.
Ideally, I would get up and make coffee, sit down at the computer and have a nice, pleasant, distraction-free morning for a few hours before anyone talks to me. But that’s not usually how it goes. I don’t have kids, but I do have animals. And they know who feeds them. So as I’m wandering through the house like a zombie, there are four cats under my feet, a young dog that wants every second of my attention, and an old dog that doesn’t get up until later. I’m letting them out, letting them back in, feeding them — all the while I’m calculating how I can make the least amount of trips up and down the stairs.
During this, I’ll make coffee. (sweet, sweet coffee — author fuel) and once all is said and done, I finally sit down in my office library upstairs (with the one dog that won’t leave me alone and whichever cat pushes through the door first).
The first thing I do is check my book sales on all my sites. If I sold something, I get happy! If not, I’m sad for a second and then I move on. I’ll check my email and social media, and do whatever needs to be done in that regard. This morning time consists of anything from writing blog posts, writing new content, researching new marketing tips, editing or setting up book content, and so on.
I’ll make a To-Do list that looks something like this:
Get word count
Finish reading Captor
Edit Captor Manuscript
Work on patreon posts
Update Captor files
Work on blog posts
Sometimes it is longer or shorter than that, but this helps me keep up with what I need to do. Sometimes I don’t get all these things done in one day, but after a few days, I can cross everything off and breathe a sigh of relief.
Then, I write — unless the writing time insists on being first.
Lately, I’ve had a word count goal in mind for each day. Sometimes I get that word count in an hour. Sometimes it takes me nearly an entire day to get a measly amount of words. But still, I try. Even if it’s uninspired crap, I try to get the words on the page.
Recently, I’ve begun to think that I might be able to work on two stories at once and have a separate word count for each, but the jury is still out on whether that’s a good thing for me to do. I like to focus on my projects, and two might be too many.
I am simultaneously the most practical person and yet the biggest dreamer you will ever meet. Some might say I’m a negative person; I like to say I’m a realist. I’m skeptical. I’m logical. Yet there is still a part of me that has a vision – which I often know is ridiculous – but I always think “what if, by some freak act of nature, it COULD happen?” I mean this is to explain things like winning the lottery, or releasing a book that is a sudden bestseller as a total surprise to me. That would be nice… And though I sometimes don’t really believe these things can happen, I’m sad if they don’t.
It should be enough that I’m able to stay home and do what I love full time. Isn’t that the dream?
Well, that got real pretty fast. I’m rambling now. Anyway!
Making time to brainstorm
Throughout the rest of the day, I’m doing a lot of normal housewife stuff, like laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, blah blah blah. But that’s the boring part. SO I try to make it fun. During all this, I try to brainstorm as much as possible. If I have an idea, then I need to have my phone handy or else I must dash to the computer to get the words down. But I often write (or attempt to write) for hours and hours a day. Sometimes the entire day is just staring at the screen…
I’ve found that exercise often helps, and if I do that with the right music, ideas can bloom like flowers. I really like nature, but if it’s too hot or cold, just walking on the treadmill helps.
After I get my word count, I will likely read over the next work that I’m planning to release as I’m going through my editing phase. This consists of many readthroughs of the same book, but I try to be vigilant. Though yes, I could have beta readers or hire an editor (and maybe I should) I get a sense of satisfaction from doing it myself. And to go through this myself helps me to get a real handle on what text needs to be there and what doesn’t. If I get bored reading it or realize it’s redundant, I’ll cut it out.
I’m convinced I’m a hobbit
If you’re wondering about the hobbit thing, yes; I’ve long considered Bilbo Baggins to be my soul-brother. We both like our privacy, we like to stay home, and we absolutely don’t do any adventuring — unless forced. Then we grumble through it the whole time, but afterward, we’re really thankful for the experience after all. I mean, sometimes I like to leave my house, but good luck. My time is my own and I have no trouble spending it alone, thank you very much.
So, for now, I don’t go out to book conventions or do book signings (part of this is because it costs a ton to set up an attractive booth, and public speaking is SO not my thing). So I sit at home and I make my art. For the most part, I’m happy to be a bit obscure.
I’d like to make some time after all this for the reading of books not written by me, but finding time for that is a work in progress. Also, at that point in my day, sometimes words just don’t make sense anymore.
Sometimes I write at night if I still feel like it, but by that time, my brain is usually pretty tired and I can’t think. In the morning, my head is clear and there has been no time to be bogged down by life stuff.
So at night when my brain is fried and I can’t make it go anymore, I’ll usually relax by playing video games or watching someone else play videogames on Youtube. (You know, low brainpower stuff.) Sometimes I wait all day for this part, and yet I don’t play games every day. It’s a part of my life that I never thought I’d let go of, and yet it escapes me at times… But that’s another topic altogether.
Then I sleep, get up and do it again.
Sounds pretty boring… Then again, I’m convinced I’m the most boring person in the world. I just do what I do. I live in worlds other than this one, and with that, I must be content.
So, this is my life. It’s certainly not glamorous in any way, but there are plenty of ways in which it’s fulfilling. The most rewarding — and perhaps the most tiring thing at the same time — is that I have to live in two different worlds at once, and sometimes more than that. It’s sometimes disorienting to jump back and forth, and I think most people around me don’t understand what it’s like to have one foot in reality and one foot in the clouds.
But it is what I must do.
What about you? Do you have an writing rituals that you you do daily? Does anything ever interfere with your writing time? Do the people in your life understand your mind? How do you deal with all this and make it fit?