Hello! Thanks for stopping by again. This is my third post for the month and, so far, I’ve chatted about aspects of building a character and building a world. But this week, how about swerving away from a craft post and going into the nitty-gritty about the writer’s life?
The funniest thing about being a writer is that there’s this idea that it’s a glamorous career. Not so much. <G> I’m sure a lot of you are like me, writing in your pajamas and sitting in your bed with a laptop. You get to make your own hours but, man, my boss is a total hardcase! She’s really strict about deadlines and is constantly on my tail about getting back to work.
Of course, my boss is me. And if I don’t exercise some willpower and stay away from the TV during work hours, I don’t get paid, just like any other job. Yes, writers can dictate their own schedules, but sitting down and actually getting work done can be the toughest part of being self-employed. (No complaints though! <G>)
I think writers field a lot of questions about how we work because we’re perceived as having more than the usual freedom. Many people ask me how I schedule everything, and when I tell them that my day can be all over the place, it’s not a very productive or exciting answer. But there’s one tried and true component of my schedule that never changes.
I always have major cave time.
What I mean by that is I consider my home my writing cave. This is where I hunker down and get loads of work done, because I have peace and quiet in my cave. I can eat, sleep, and drink my story without very many distractions. I don’t have any semblance of a social life until it’s time to visit family and friends five hours away in another town every so often. In other words, I live a dual life—one that’s all about being inside my head and one that’s mostly about being outside my head (although I still do work when I escape my cave. I’m just not a complete writing zombie when I’m “out in the world.”)
Lest you think that I’m a total zombie during cave time…nope. I might be Commando Writing Robot Girl, but my joints freeze up if I don’t maintain myself. When I’m not writing about ghosts, vampires, or romances, I actually enjoy getting out to go to the gym, especially for my yoga practice. Honestly, yoga is a writer’s best friend, because it recharges the batteries; it keeps your body flexible so you can fight off the sitting-at-my-desk-all-day blues and it offers positive affirmation for the times when a writer doubts herself (It happens, right?). Walking is also a highlight of my day when I’m not at the gym. There’s just something about the rhythm of striding along and something about the fresh air that gives me a second wind.
I also eat in my cave. That’s right—I do remember to schedule time for that. Luckily, when I’m at the keyboard, I don’t crave snacks. I’m obsessed with powering through the chapter I’m writing or editing. My worst temptation is the TV, which I watch a lot! (I tell people that watching TV is research and a part of my process. And you know what? It’s true! I keep paper and a pen next to me, and I can’t tell you how many plot holes I’ve filled and world building details I’ve come up with sitting there in front of the TV. The mind goes into a zone that gives the writer permission to relax, but it’s a zone in which ideas are floating around. It’s actually a meditative state for me.)
As for my official work time (because, really, TV watching is work. Seriously!), my schedule has changed recently. Before I dipped my toes into indie and self-publishing, my mind was free enough to write my chapters or polish pages during the day. That sure changed though. Now I feel compelled to keep up with East Coast business hours, and this is what my schedule looks like at the present time:
Morning: business (address issues that always come up in emails, do promotion and marketing)
Afternoon: break time. TV.
Late afternoon/Night: write chapters, polish pages (creative time)
I still consider myself a morning person, and I do miss writing at that time. But I’ve adjusted. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more of that as I go along, too!
So what is your writer’s life like? Any quirks you can share with us?
Chris Marie Green is the author of ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, the first book in the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series from Roc, which features a fun-loving spirit from the 80s. She also wrote the urban fantasy Vampire Babylon series from Ace Books
She tries her best to avoid international incidents whenever she takes a break from her first love, writing, and cheats on it with her other true love—traveling. She has alter egos named Christine Cody, who wrote the dark fantasy Bloodlands trilogy, and Crystal Green, who likes to write romance.
Chris Marie Green/Crystal Green
The She Code