- About a year and a half ago, when I was fairly new to my blogging life, I wrote a post called, My Life As A Writer. I talked about my creative process and largely relied on my experience writing my new blog and still unpublished novel. My work has grown tremendously since then, and I read that post and laugh at what I thought being a writer meant. So, I would like to revisit that topic and explain what my life as a writer is now. Maybe in two years I will laugh at this post. But, here, in my rough sketch of my weekday schedule, is what it’s like to be a writer.
My day begins with journaling. I have a simple, but fun journaling app on my iPad, and I just ramble about the day before and what I hope today will bring. Since I always have my iPad with me, I keep a running journal account all day of what I’m thinking and feeling. It helps identify patterns, and over time, it has proved very useful by reminding me exactly when things happened in my life.
Side job. Like many writers, I am not yet full-time. I’ve got a pretty cushy side job homeschooling kids in exchange for housing. I work with two kids-5th and 7th grades, and right now, they’re gearing up to go to Europe for a month. I can’t afford it, so I’ll stay here, and grade their papers when they get back. (haha! Month off!!). So, as it is, we get through the essentials…math, history, and my all-time favorite-English. I kick some serious bum making these kids write essays and papers. These kids will be literate as long as they are on my watch! And, of course, we read. A lot. But, right now, we are doing a current events project that involves researching all the 2016 Presidential candidates, as well as writing about the entire election process. This is turning out to be the meat of our school day.
I end school around this time, and don’t usually eat lunch. I’m not big on food. I may grab a sandwich, but food is just not a big priority with me. I can go days without eating and not notice until finally one day I don’t understand why I’m so emotional. I’m sure this is not good. I drink a lot of coffee throughout the day though, and I’ve read that it’s an appetite suppressant. Maybe that’s it.
But, in any account, I pack my computer and head to the adjoining building to my office. My writing day starts with my e-mails. I get assignments and communication this way, and so I sort through them and plot out their due dates in my editorial calendar. This is an invaluable spreadsheet I created that serves as the backbone of my writing life. It keeps track of everything I have to do and when, helps me keep a regular blogging and social media schedule, and has slots for long term projects like books.
Then I get to work. I make phone calls. I prepare inteviews. I research sources. I conduct interviews. I takes notes. Lots of notes. I leave voicemails. I get return calls. And I send lots and lots of e-mails. And I get lots and lots more. In all of this, I write about one or two full articles per day. I email the finished drafts. I get revision requests. I revise them. I email them again. They get published. I put them in my log of finished articles so that I get paid.
I love writing, but it’s hard work. Sometimes the articles fly out of my fingers. Other times I really have to work at it. In those times, I will take a walk, listen to music, or make hot tea or coffee while I think. I find these things can help the creative process. Sometimes it’s just a matter of focusing on a piece. Other times, I just don’t “have” the piece, and if I force it, I will spend hours writing something really terrible that I will just delete later. But if I will let it percolate a day or so, the piece will just write itself. With practice, I have learned to tell the difference.
My brain is fried, and there is probably a lot more I can do. But for now, I can’t think anymore. I grab something light to eat, and then head back home for the next part of my day. This is the creative side. The side where I remember why I love writing. I sit pensively with my iPad and I talk to my roommates while I blog. Or write poetry. Or work on my poetry book. Or write fiction. Or work on my novel. Or doodle in my writer’s notebook things that strikes me as useful for material.
I put the computer or notebook away, and then pull out the IPad, and tap out some final thoughts about the day in my journal. My day ends with journaling.
So, there you have it. It’s not exactly David Duchovny in Californication. (Did that guy ever even write?!) But, for me, this is what it means to be a writer. Although, I will stand by my previous post on this and say that the biggest part of writing is getting your bum into the chair. You can have all the ideas and talent in the world, but if you don’t actually take the time to write them, they won’t go anywhere except your head.