Sunday, May 07, 2006
Part of the inspiration for starting this blog was a recent visit to a local middle school during Author Day. Several of us local authors gave short presentations about what it was like to be a writer to eight grade classes, and it worked well, as we filled several different genres, including fiction and non-fiction.
I'm a literary novelist. I do other genres of writing, also (short stories, poetry, memoirs, and a children's book), but novels are my true love and obsession. Unfortunately, this is rarely a money-earning field. That is not why I'm a writer, though. I'm a writer ... because I am. I didn't dream of being a writer while growing as some will tell you they did. I was a writer. I have done it ever since I can remember. My only question was how it would manifest into my adult world.
I'm horrible at teaching in person. I can explain nearly anything in words, in print (anything I know how to do, that is), but don't ask me to sit with someone and explain how to do anything vocally. So, although I enjoyed going into the school and talking with the students, I feel there were so many things left out of my answers. I want to try to answer them here.
There will be other things thrown in, as well: things I have learned about the writing process, advice I give newer writers, and particularly anything that deals with publishing in a non-traditional format, which I call "indie publishing." I am indie-published, meaning that I did not try to send my novels into a traditional company. I'm doing it on my own, after much research into what both methods entail. Why? The simple answer is that I wanted to maintain control. More detailed answers will follow in further entries.
I want to start, though, with the one question asked of me that I truly wished I had answered much better (blame the nerves of public speaking).
What is your normal day like as a writer?
Here's my normal day in a nutshell (writing tip: be careful about cliches, but don't throw them out altogether):
6:20 am: make sure my oldest child is awake and ready to catch the bus
6:30 am: wake my youngest child so he can start getting ready
7:15 am: make sure he is leaving on time to catch the bus
8:30 am: listen to my favorite DJs and/or music on my alarm clock while trying to convince myself to get up and start my own day
9:00'ish to around noon (this varies depending on the day and what needs to be done that particular day): make coffee!, feed goldfish, check email, spend time in writing.com reading/reviewing/entering writing contests/networking with other writers, check work email (for network coordinator job), play with photos (for photography hobby), work on graphics (for my site or others)
noon'ish to around 1:30: find something quick for lunch so my brain doesn't shut down, do stuff around the house that needs to be done, or other things that get my blood circulating (I try to use this time for some time of exercise when I can force myself to do so)
1:30 to 3:00'ish: varies -- including doing research for my current in-progress novel, checking for markets and ways to find exposure for my writing/art, work on my website, checking email, working on NC job as needed, and I may do some writing during this time, or graphic work, and now and then I let myself take a break and chat with a friend or family
3:00 to around 8:00: This is the 'interrupted' part of the day when the kids get home and homework and chores have to be pushed and we have baseball practice or errands to run and dinner to deal with. When there is time, I'm likely doing more correspondence, or looking for markets, or checking on other hobby-related activities and household chores, etc.
after 8:00 until around midnight: I call this "my" time, the time I try to save for writing, either actually sitting down and working on a novel or story, or doing detailed research for one. It's also when I generally write my daily blog entry at writing.com (though that also varies). I may have other work to do, though, that pushes my writing time later.
We writers lead such exciting, glamorous lives! (note the sarcasm) I like, though, that I can vary my schedule as I need around my family. Let me say that during much of the time I've been writing, I've also had an outside paying job. Currently, I am very fortunate to be able to spend more time on my writing/art than I have before and I'm trying to use it to the best advantage while I have the opportunity. I don't expect it will be something that can help support the family financially. There are many other jobs out there I can do for that.
I write because it's who I am and I hope it will make a difference.
"Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self."