A Day in the Life of Fiction Writer
by JC Andrijeski
So, I strongly suspect this will be purely for amusement’s sake, rather than anything that’s going to be particularly illuminating in terms of writing process, but I thought it might be funny to document one of my ‘normal’ days as a full-time fiction writer. This is partly inspired by the series Dean Wesley Smith is currently doing on ghost-writing a novel in eight days.
Although, yeah, I won’t be doing that.
Somehow, I suspect I will learn more than I want to know about myself and my process by doing this, however…ha!
Okay. So here goes…
MONDAY – April 21st, 2013
6:50am – got up, cursing because I overslept (I usually get up at 6am, was up too late watching the L-Word, my latest ridiculous, brain-candy binge on Netflix). Roommate, who is allergic to pretty much everything and hates the world in the morning is already using the coffee grinder. Damn! He seems to take it as a personal affront if I’m even in the same room with him before he’s been awake for more than two hours, so I’ll have to try and navigate around him for the next hour or so.
6:55am – Roommate jumps in the shower. I run into kitchen, throw on water for coffee, fix filter, add grinds, add sugar. While water boils, proceed to water plants, do a few dishes, change my clothes, get my computer powered up. Roommate still in shower, so can’t do the usual teeth ritual and face washing until he’s gone.
7:07am – Water is boiling. Make coffee. (CRITICAL)
7:12am – Sit down to start working. Current work in progress is THE MORPH (Book 2), but pause to fill this post out first and check email. Since I’ve been working on other things for the past two weeks, I reread the last chapter I was working on to get back into the flow of the story and characters.
8:14am – Roommate is gone. Jump up to brush my teeth, floss, wash my face, put on moisturizer…all the things I normally do at 6am. Oh, and make another cup of coffee. Finished about 800 new words so far, give or take, so my brain is waking up.
8:32am – Sat back down to write.
9:19am – Took another short break, checked email, texted a friend about getting dinner this week, logged some finance stuff. Written about 1600 words at this point. Spent a few minutes working out a title for this book, which has been nagging at me. I think I’m going to call it SEATTLE MORPH (Gate-Shifters #2)…although I wavered a bit between that and EARTH MORPH.
10:06am – I’m now at about 2,500 new words. I wander briefly around the room for a bit, stretching my limbs and doing a bit of yoga and some sit-ups.
10:13am – Sit back down to write (I do most of my new words in the morning).
12:01pm – A little more than 4,300 words, and now, okay, I’m hitting the low blood sugar portion of this program (coffee can only do so much). I also need to get out of the house for a bit, scrounge up some food since the fridge is bare, (which is why I didn’t have my customary 10am bagel and/or English muffin). It’s also a beautiful day in San Francisco, so wherever I’m going, I’m walking. I briefly try to decide if I should bring my computer, in case I want to work through lunch, and decide against it. So I back up my WIP via email (a ritual since I’m leaving my computer at home), and grab my keys.
2:47pm – Returned to the apartment after walking about 40 blocks to Best Buy before I realized the thing I wanted to return was actually purchased at Office Depot (oops!). On the way back called my sister and ended up talking to her over an hour about my impending move to Lincoln City. Badly in need of food at this point, I purchased a sandwich from Lou’s and a coke and headed home, where I’m now getting ready to watch an episode of the L-Word and eat (a rather late) lunch.
3:30pm – Finished lunch. Remembered I have a new article up on The Indie Exchange so I note it on my blog. Ended up talking to a friend while on Facebook who’s going through an intense break-up, and then answered a few emails.
4:00pm – Wrote a bit more but kind of sleepy. Around 4,800 words.
5:00pm – Woke up from a 30 minute nap. Started working on the paperback version of WAR: ALLIE’S WAR, BOOK SIX, which I’m in the process of formatting.
7:00pm – Brief break to read news and some blogs. Lunch was too late for me to want dinner, so I guess I’ll skip it.
7:45pm – Finish formatting the ‘guts’ of the paperback and start working on and finishing the cover now that I have the book’s dimensions. The big chunk of work for this is the back cover, which needs copy, etc. Luckily I’ve gotten a LOT faster with this, and I have a template for the Allie’s War books, since it’s a series.
11:20pm – Upload the finished paperback PDF (insides of book) and the cover. Finish all the meta data and so forth, and write a quick post on my blog with the new paperback cover in case anyone wants to weigh in.
12:00am – Well, I’ll probably be up for another hour or so, watching crap and winding down, but my day is more or less done.
Hope this wasn’t too terribly boring, ha!
You can see I pretty much work with breaks, rather than do a ‘normal’ (meaning 9-5) type schedule. I took a big chunk of my midday off to walk around, shop, eat, talk to friends and family…that’s pretty normal for me, actually. Then I usually work all night until 12am -1am, although often it’s more ‘publishing-type’ stuff and I’ll have a movie playing in the background if I can get away with it (although often I couldn’t tell you much about the movie afterwards and end up having to watch it again if it’s something I really want to see).
Looking this over, this is (sadly) a fairly normal day, although usually I don’t have a paperback to format every night…and naps are only occasional.
Would love to hear people’s reactions!
JC Andrijeski has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, including the Allie's War series, The Slave Girl Chronicles series, and the bestselling novella, The Alien Club. Her short fiction runs the gamut from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. Her short works have been published in numerous anthologies, online literary, art and fiction magazines as well as print venues such as NY Press newspaper and holistic health magazines. JC has traveled extensively and lived abroad, including two years spent at the foot of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie's War books. She's also lived or spent considerable time in Poland, Prague, Australia, London, Vancouver BC, New York City, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Albuquerque, Seattle, Eureka (CA) and DeLand, Florida. JC currently lives and works in San Francisco. Please visit JC's blog at jcandrijeski.blogspot.com
25th June – Book Review at Aspiring Book
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2nd July – Guest Post at There Will Be Another Sunrise