Last week I tweeted this:
Weird truth. I woke at 9:30. It’s now 5. I’ve been working all day, but have not written a single word. #writerslife
— Mindy McGinnis (@MindyMcGinnis) June 4, 2017
Quite a few authors seconded me on that – and then it happened again this past Friday. I was up at a decent hour (for a self-employed person) and spent the entire day working, yet didn’t write a word on a WIP. How’s that possible?
I’ll break it down.
9-10 AM: Exchanged texts with a writer whose book I’m blurbing about talking points of her novel and what kind of wording worked best to get those across in a small snippet.
10-12 PM: Answered emails. Yes, honestly, for two hours. I was on a trip with very little internet access (but many, many ticks) from Monday-Wednesday and had a buildup of emails that needed answering. Even without that influx, I do generally spend roughly two hours on emails every day.
On this particular day I needed to listen to audio snippets from three different actresses for the audiobook version of THIS DARKNESS MINE to choose who I liked best for the narrator, answer emails from both the agent and the editor about marketing things coming up, confer with the coordinator for my event that evening to make sure necessary tech was in place, answer questions about a different event concerning best time / date options, and fill out questionnaires about yet another event concerning tech, content, and what books I would like to have available for sale at said event. I also fielded and sent emails with upcoming podcast guests, looking to find good times for us to get together to record our sessions.
12-1 PM: Read and critiqued a project pitch for a fellow author, then conferred with her over text about whether it not it represented the manuscript well. (It did, because this is RC Lewis we’re talking about, and the woman knows how to write a pitch.)
1-2 PM: Finished writing up notes for a manuscript critique of a Middle Grade I had read for an aspiring writer. (If you’re interested, click here). Emailed editorial letter and line edits to the author.
2-4 PM: Wrote a proposal for a manuscript of my own, sent it off to trusty RC Lewis who read, reviewed, and sent back to me with her nitty-nit-picks which keep my work so clean in the first place. (I don’t know how to use a semi-colon, basically). Sent proposal off to the agent, realized I desperately needed to put on pants and head to an event.
4-7 PM: Drove to an event, did my thing, met with some awesome teens and had a great talk at a library, sold some books, signed some books, drove home – I did also eat at this point, you’ll notice I hadn’t done that yet – and upon getting home checked in on email once again in order to follow up on all the conversations that resulted as part of those earlier emails.
7-8 PM: Uploaded artwork and ordered swag for THIS DARKNESS MINE bookmarks and postcards, then dealt with formatting issues when they came back and needed adjustments. Said bad words. Re-uploaded.
8-11 PM: Read a book! Yes, it’s part of what I consider work – with a healthy dose of pleasure, as well, of course. I’ve got ARCs piled on the nightstand that need to be read, some for blurb purposes, some for being featured here on the blog, as well as for giveaways. I also read the novels of my upcoming podcast guests, so that I can have informed, intelligent conversations with them about their work and process.
That’s an entire day of work, and very little writing. This is the life of a writer – and so little of what we do is writing.