Jennifer has asked me to share a normal day in my life as a writer. That’s a tough one because I work full time at my day job as an Administrative Assistant for an Electric Generation facility (we call it “the power plant”) owned by a municipality.
A normal weekday for me means my alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. I usually hit the snooze button at least once, sometimes twice, before forcing myself to roll out of bed. First on the agenda is to let my little Pomeranians outside for a moment. Then I hit the treadmill in the basement for 20 to 30 minutes. And I try to do a few extra exercises like squats, crunches or lunges at least three mornings out of five. I don’t always succeed because by the time I’m finished with the treadmill all I want is to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. But I do try. (That’s gotta count for something. Right?)
My favorite coffee is Columbian sweetened with a bit of French Vanilla cream. Yum! So I savor my coffee while watching the morning news on Canada AM and simultaneously checking email on my iPad. Then 20 minutes or so later I’m starting to feel ready to face the day. That takes me to 6:10 a.m. or so. Then I make my lunch, get ready, and get out the door by 6:45 in order to get to work by 7:00 a.m. Most of my day is spent doing spreadsheets in one form or another to account for power production, power sales, budgeting, forecasting, KPIs, or tracking of something.
My day at the power plant ends at 4:00 or 4:30 every day.
I have to say that, if you have to work, the Electric Generation department that I work in is one of the best places to work. Most of us are long term employees, and we are like a big — only slightly dysfunctional — family. It’s a great bunch of people. And, since I need to work in order to prepare for my retirement – which is looming a short 7 years away – I am happy to be there working with the people that I do. The only place I’d be happier is writing full-time, and that isn’t an option for me until I’ve put away enough to meet my retirement needs.
Anyway, after work, it’s home to walk the dogs, get supper prepared, perhaps watch a little TV with my husband before doing dishes and doing any other chores (eg: grocery shopping) required that evening. My early mornings mean that I usually head to bed by 9:00 or 9:30. This is necessary because I am one of those people that seems to have to lie in bed for at least an hour, letting all the happenings of the day whirl around in my head, or pondering a plotting problem I encountered, before I can get to sleep. So even though I go to bed at 9:30, I’m often not falling asleep until 10:30.
However, all of that aside, I’m certain Jennifer was looking for some idea of my writing schedule. So, I have to share that, with my schedule, writing only takes place on weekends. I know that most other professionals advocate writing a bit every day, but that just doesn’t work for me with the schedule I have. If I try to force myself to write when I’m exhausted after a full day, what I produce isn’t worth publishing anyway, so my time is better spent getting the sleep I need to function.
This means that I try to devote about 6 hours on each day of the weekend to writing, or dealing with writing related tasks like cover design or what have you. While I have done a lot of re-issuing of novels for which rights have been returned to me from my New York-based publishers, I haven’t published anything new in few years, and I hope to change that within the next while. However, I want to have three books written before I release my next one, in order to be prepared to maintain interest in a new series. And then, hopefully, I will be able to follow that with at least one book every 6 months until I retire. At least that’s the plan at this point. But it’s going to take some time to get those first three books done.
And that’s my typical schedule, in a nutshell. Thank you Jennifer for the question.