Last week my sister asked me what my days are like now that I’m a full time writer, a question that is a little panic-inducing. I just came back from a long trip, and before that, I only had one week of the full time writer life.
Right now, I’m working on turning the 70% rough draft of The Sea Queen into the 100% first draft. I use a pomodoro timer on my phone to manage my time. For a while I tried working for 25 minute blocks (pomodoros), with 5 minute breaks, and every 4 pomodoros, a 15 minute break. Now I’m trying 15 minute blocks with 3 minute breaks and I think it’s working better.
I’m working mostly at home right now, where I have a nice big monitor on a table in the living room so I can see two chapters side by side on the monitor and the outline on my laptop screen. I listen to various writing mixes I’ve made on Spotify. I keep on considering whether to try to work in the NYU library, where I have purchased an alumni pass, but I like my big monitor, and I like being able to make lunch at home.
I do something athletic most days, and I try to involve other people in that when possible, since being at home all the time, especially with my husband out of town, is rather lonely.
I’ve been cooking a lot, but I know that, before he comes home, I will get tired of cooking for one.
In the evenings, when I used to do my writing, now I read and knit and watch TV and movies, which hopefully feed the creativity I will pour back into my writing.
I had always planned to try to get an adjunct teaching position, but this draft of The Sea Queen feels so all-consuming that I am concerned about adding something else to my life. Which might be silly, since I used to write with a full time, 40 hour a week job.
I was also going to start taking Spanish Classes.
But now I have deadlines. I am trying to write two 500-page novels in two years, while, over the course of three years, doing everything it takes to publish and promote three books. That is a lot. The Sea Queen is due to my editor in July 2017, which seems like a long way off, but I want to do at least one more draft on my own, and then have my agent and some other readers look at it, and then make the changes they recommend, before doing a few passes with my editor, so the months will pass fairly quickly. And then as soon as I complete it, I need to start on the final book in the trilogy, The Golden Wolf. And soon, by the beginning of August this year, I will start doing copy edits on The Half-Drowned King.
I don’t miss going into an office and working, but I miss some of the rhythm of it, the leaving and coming back. The having a frustrating day and commiserating with my husband about it. The relief when the day is over, though that usually only lasted the two hours when I came home, had a drink, and fixed dinner, before I launched into writing again.
I don’t know what it will look like in a month, or six months, or a year. It feels too good to be true now, but also a little lonely, and I am worried that this novel I’ve been crafting alone, composed of words that no other person has read yet, will not be as good as the previous one, or will take too long to get the stage of the previous one, or a million other things that could go wrong. Writer worries.
So to answer to the question of what my day to day life looks like is: lots of writing, and some of what feels suspiciously like leisure activity. It’s not bad at all.