I loved the TV show Castle. A best-selling author struggling to find inspiration for his next story who ends up finding love, making friends, and creating one of the worst series endings EVER! (I’m still bitter about that.)
The truth is, however, that very few writers actually have the luxury of only writing all day. Sure, Debbie Macomber, Stephen King, and Janet Evanovich can spend all day writing, but that’s because they’re international best-selling authors. Writing stories is actually their career. While I would love for that to happen to me (and I’m working towards it!), the truth is that Castle would have looked very different if it had portrayed the majority of authors.
Here’s what it would look like if it had been based on my life:
6 a.m. – alarm goes off; hit snooze for 30-60 minutes (think about my novel)
7:30 a.m. – smoothie and coffee for breakfast; clean the kitchen while coffee brews
8 a.m. – sit down at computer, check email, cruise Facebook, play Candy Crush Saga, check email, cruise Facebook
9 a.m. – start working on … work: blog posts, bid letters, social media posts
10:30 a.m. – start laundry; get a snack (think about my novel)
10:45 a.m. – back to work: edit someone else’s manuscript, schedule a class to teach next semester, work on curriculum for class, answer work emails
1 p.m. – run to the kitchen starving and try to throw together a healthy meal (eat an apple, cheese, and potato chips instead); switch laundry
1:30 p.m. – check social media accounts to respond to comments/questions but get sucked into Facebook again (will I really believe what that bride said to her groom as they walked down the aisle? I’d better click to find out.)
3 p.m. – back to work: respond to client emails, edit someone else’s website content, go back to the manuscript edit
4 p.m. – walk the dog; check laundry
4:45 p.m. – feed the animals (think about my novel)
4:50 p.m. – back to work: editing someone else’s manuscript
6 p.m. – start dinner (think about my novel); go back to the laundry
6:45 p.m. – clean up after dinner; check email; sucked back into the social media vortex
8 p.m. – what happened to the day?? (watch Dancing with the Stars or LA to Vegas)
9 p.m. – finally! Open my novel manuscript and get to work!
9:15 p.m. – open Facebook because I can’t concentrate on my story, but I’ll think about the plot while I cruise
10:30 p.m. – falling asleep at the computer; go to bed
Not everyone’s schedule looks like this, of course. Some people work outside of the home at non-writing related jobs. Lots of people have kids and/or spouses who don’t travel. I know one author who homeschool’s five kids, runs her house, and still writes amazing novels. The point is this:
Most of work. We have responsibilities. We don’t get to write novels all day. Sometimes we only have 15 minutes here and there, but we do it anyway.
Because we love it! Because we want to! Because we have to – there’s a compulsion to share the stories that burn in our hearts!
So, we’ll occasionally forget a blog post or maybe skip that dinner out with friends, but we’re okay with that because writing our stories matters! It might take longer to write the book than we’d like, but we do it anyway and, hopefully, some day our readers will appreciate it.
Is there something your life that you have to do? What is that thing that you’re happy to sacrifice for?
Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, Karin is a newly-signed author with Elk Lake Publishing. Her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, releases September 15, 2018.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or writing business copy through her business Write Now Editing. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.