Tuesday, November 3, 2015
A day in the life of a writer...
So it's time for NaNoWriMo, that annual event where something on the order of 300,000 writers set themselves the goal of completing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.
300,000 writers, but I'm not one of them.
I'm tempted, but in the five years since I've been writing more-or-less seriously, it always seems like I've got a big revision project planned for November, rather than drafting something new. I'm a great #NaNo cheerleader, though!
One of the other Relentless Writers was on our Facebook page looking for writing companionship this morning, and my comment was a laundry list of all the reasons I wouldn't be writing today. Which got me thinking about all the things that go into being a working writer, the things that DON'T involve putting words on the page.
With that in mind, here's my to-do list for today...
Quick background...Here at Chez Rancourt we're in the middle of a major remodel, and this week we're having the hardwoods on the main floor refinished. I'm typing this on my son's gaming desktop in the basement, my lovely king-sized Sleep Number bed is set up a couple feet behind me, and the whole place is vibrating with the sound of heavy machinery. Granted, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event (I HOPE!), but it does illustrate how you sometimes have to fit your passion in and around real life...
0400 - I'm awake because my brain hasn't made the leap to standard time. I check my phone - yes, I'm one of those freaks - and see there's a message from a free-lance editor I've been trying to contact. Yay! I lay back down and try to get more sleep, but end up reading the book I've agreed to review.
0600 - The son's alarm goes off. He's in the guest room so I hear it and get up. He just turned sixteen and he's getting ready for his driving test, which means I get to ride in the passenger seat while he drives to school. Riding in the rain at rush hour with a teen driver is not for the faint of heart, however I do appreciate the fact that it's daylight. Thank you, time change. Before we leave the house I reply to the editor, and on the way to school she emails me back. That project moves a step further.
0800 - After dropping the kid off, I drive across town to our veterinarian's office, where Ed the puppy is going to have his manhood revised. Sorry Ed. I get there early and coax the little dude into a kennel, then do some more reading while I wait for the vet to arrive. She assures me they can manage him so I take off, and right about the time I get home she calls to tell me he's freaking out and won't let them near the kennel. Did I mention he's a feisty German Shepherd? I drive back to the vet's but this time I bring my secret weapon, my oldest kid, the Puppy Whisperer. Within about 12 seconds of our arrival, she's got a muzzle on the puppy and things are back on track. I read - I'm only to about the 40% point and the book releases today - and then take my kid out for breakfast as a reward.
1000 - Back home to write a blog post. I download Gimp to the desktop so I can make a thematically appropriate image for the post, and also so I can work on some teaser promos for one of my two upcoming releases. I've got the edits back on one of the releases, but going through them will take longer than I have right now.
From here I'm going to describe how I think things will happen. This is all subject to change...
1200 - I'll pick the oldest up from her volunteer gig at the feral cat rescue and take her to catch the bus for school. Then I'll go to my BFFs house to wait for the furnace guy to show up, since she has to work today. I'll have my laptop with me, and with any luck I'll make some headway on the edits while I'm waiting.
1400 - I should be back home, and I should be editing. I've gotta get this project turned around, because tomorrow I'll be working the day job and the rest of the week will be complicated by the fact that we're going to have to move to my parents' house while they stain the floors. I've got two day jobs, technically. One's about 3/4 time and the other is per diem, and it seems like the busier I am with writing, the more they want me to work. Because that's how life rolls.
1600 - Pick up the Puppy Whisperer from school so she can come with me bring Ed home. I expect we'll all have a mellow evening huddled together in the basement. At least there won't be heavy machinery operating overhead. I'll finish the review book and maybe poke at some edits or work on some teasers. There's always something to do.
And that's the bottom line. There's always something to do. In the course of the day, I'll have exercised my people-management skills, my editing brain, my (limited) graphics talent, and (arguably) my humor-writing chops. I'll throw in some parenting and - since the husband has the flu - a little nursing on the side. I will also buy toilet paper, because we're out.
But I won't be putting down 1600 words, which is what you need to average daily to make your NaNo goal. Maybe if they ran it in February...
So what about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What's your secret for balancing work and writing and life?