A Day in the Life of a Writer: Introvert, Modern Day Hobbit, and the Most Practical Idealist You’ve Ever Met

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.

*whew*

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.

Balancing act

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…

Trying.

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.

Winding down

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?

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5 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Writer: Introvert, Modern Day Hobbit, and the Most Practical Idealist You’ve Ever Met

  1. Biblo Beggins'ya

    Ms. Lenore, as a writer struggling with their first novel, how do you take loose associated ideas and turn them into a concise story outline? When I brainstorm it comes in chunks or dribbles. And rarely do one or two ideas naturally “fit together.” Usually, I have to work hard to fit all my ideas into a streamlined story. Is there a better way?

    Reply
    1. misslanilenore Post author

      I don’t know that there is a better way. Sometimes a story comes together easily and at other times, you really have to fight for it and meditate on it until you can make sense of your ideas. I don’t know if there is any cure for that. I’ve had a few of those myself. Often, I even put them aside and wait until the answer comes to me later on.

      You just have to ask yourself ‘how?’.

      If you know one thing that happens at A and another thing that happens at B, then you’re trying to get from point A to point B. So how do you get there? You have to ask yourself that based on the confines of your own story, and sometimes the answer is not in what happens. Sometimes the answer is in what the character needs to accomplish before they can get to point B. That, in some cases, is simply the passage of time.

      Ask yourself a lot of questions as to how a thing can be possible. Just think about what you’re working with. To me, writing is not all about the scenes that I see in my head. It’s also analytical, and even if my story is fantasy, I have to ask myself a lot of realistic questions in order to make everything come together.

      But stay true to yourself and your ideas. If you KNOW that something is supposed to happen, try to hold onto that. Sometimes, it comes together in an unexpected way, and might even surprise you.

      I hope this helped you out!

      Reply
  2. nitapan14

    Ever since I started juggling, quite unsuccessfully might I add, three different projects (one rough draft, one rewriting, one editing/rewriting), and summer interrupted my flow, it’s been a bit difficult. During the school year, my work schedule is more regular and I can wake up early and not have anyone else in the house gripe at me for waking them up. Now I’m down to two projects and am slowly recreating a writing schedule. Le sigh. It’s an ongoing process. Anyway, I digress. Thank you for sharing what works for you!

    Reply
    1. misslanilenore Post author

      The struggle is real. I have a difficult time focusing on more than one project at a time (unless one is mostly just editing), so I’m impressed that you can work on three at once! It’s difficult when you lose the flow of the project. I personally haven’t done much for a few days now, but I’m easing back into it. I guess that all any of us can do it keep at it!

      Reply
      1. Nita Pan

        Even I cannot comprehend the depths of my insanity at deciding to juggle three projects at once. I mean, I used to be able to write a chapter of Book A, write one of Book B, edit a little of C for a few days, and start a whole new Book D. And I was a full-time student with a part-time job with a semi-busy social life. I don’t know how I did it but I did, although recreating my old magic hasn’t exactly been working. 😒 Isn’t that the truth. Balancing writing and life is a constant battle, but I think that it’ll probably be worth it in the end. I suppose that we’ll see.

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