I know a few people have asked about my writing process over the years, but I think before I get into that, I’ll give you a glimpse in the life of an indie writer with a day job. I won’t go into extreme detail but hit the high notes for you.
First, I do have a job outside of writing. Most people probably know that my wife runs Pyland Publishing, which actually publishes my books, and she takes care of the business side of things that I’m not a big fan of, so I work another job. It’s a fairly typical Monday-Friday situation, so I’ll focus this brief blog on how a usual day looks during the week for me.
When I wake up, I grab coffee. I usually only drink one cup a day, and I’m one of those people that takes hours to finish it. It’s a big mug, but still. I have one of those cup-warmer things, so it at least stays warm for me until I finish it around noon.
Once I’ve got my coffee in hand, I put on my noise-canceling headphones and start with music. The music helps me wake up a bit. Then, I will usually switch to listening to an audiobook unless I’m really feeling the music I’ve got on. I’m sitting in my writing chair, which is a small recliner in the same office I use for work. I create some separation here by having my work monitors and computers facing the other way, so while the room is used for both purposes, I can’t see those screens if I want to write. It helps keep my brain focused on novels and not the work I need to do later.
The cat usually hops into my chair around this point and manages to take up more space than me. I get my laptop open and set my coffee down on the aforementioned warmer and get started. Usually, I’m checking things like social media and email first to see if there’s anything I need to respond to. If, for example, I need to write a blog like this one, I might start with that before I get working on a book. I’ll scroll through a little news to see what happened while I was sleeping, and then, I’m ready to get writing.
I use bullet outlines for the majority of my books, and I create one bullet per chapter where I give a few key points that I need to have happen in that chapter. I’m a fast typer, so I’m usually able to type a chapter before I need to work. My chapters vary in length, but many of them are around 2,500 words or so. If I had more time before work, I’d type more, and I usually do on the weekends, but now it’s time for my meetings to start, so I put my laptop on the tiny table by my tiny chair and move to my work desk.
Now, I’m in work mode, and I’m in meetings, replying to Slack messages, forgetting to stop and eat lunch, sipping my coffee until it’s gone, trying to find time to go to the bathroom before the next meeting starts, and working on other things. At the end of my work day, I’m usually going to check in with my wife to see if there’s anything I need to know about my “other job” - aka, my writing and the business. We might chat for a few minutes before it’s time to cook dinner.
She’ll tell you that she’s not great in the kitchen, so this usually falls to me. I’m one of those sometimes-fans of cooking. Some nights, I grumble about having to cook, and other times, I’m excited at the prospect of making something new. We use a meal-kit delivery service, which makes this a little easier on me, and after we eat dinner, we take care of other things, whatever those might be. It could be a walk outside if the weather is nice, talking more about the business, hanging out and watching TV or a movie, and I’m usually back in my office either before or after that, writing again.
On a Monday-Friday, I can get two chapters typed. Three if I’m feeling really good or have the time before bed. On the weekends, I can usually get three to four because I don’t have work in the middle there, but that ultimately depends on what else we have going on. I know a lot of writers don’t write full chapters at a time, and I feel very lucky that I’m able to do this because it allows me to publish more books a year and continue to work full-time. Without that ability, I’d probably only be able to publish about one book a year or so, and my wife wouldn’t be able to do this full-time, so I’m grateful that this is what works for me.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my days as an indie writer with a full-time job.
Until next time…