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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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A Writer’s Life

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 7, 2011

A Writer’s Life

What does a writer do all day? Do we sit at the computer, stare at the screen, and make up stories? How many hours a day do we actually spend writing? What do we do for the rest of the time?

If you’re a writer, you’ve already been asked these questions. For those of you who are still wondering, here is a typical day in my writing life.

5:00 – 7:00 am  Write 5 pages, my daily quota. Drink coffee, get dressed, eat breakfast.
7:00 – 7:30  Take walk
7:45 – 8:15   Pick out winning numbers for latest contest. Determine winner and announce on all sites.
8:15 – 8:35   Update contest pages and/or website
8:35 – 8:40  Tweet latest news
8:40 – 9:10  Work on blog
9:10 – 9:30  Exercise Bike
9:40 – 10:15   Scan through Email, follow people on Twitter who are following me, answer critique partner’s request, scan listserves, thank person on Twitter who retweeted me, forward promo ops to writer friends.
10:15 – 11:45   Leave for Salon Appt, Return and eat lunch
11:45 – 12:45   Check Email, Check for friend requests and messages on FB, Post blog, Answer friend invites on Goodreads.
12:45 – 1:45   Pay Household Bills, Prepare books and ARCs to mail out for donations or to reviewers
1:45 – 2:15   Trip to post office, come home, eat apple
2:15 – 3:15   Process contest entries onto Excel worksheet, Respond to FB friend requests, Tweet a friend’s blog post, Catch up in email.
3:15 – 4:45   Take break, file papers, organize office
4:45- 5:00   Check email and then quit for the day!

What about emails? How come I get so many? Aside from the twenty or more daily digests I receive from the reader and writer listserves I’ve joined, these are some sample emails from my current Inbox and the actions I need to take:

Answer request from mystery author to guest blog on my site
Respond to community resident to lead book club review session
Answer request for excerpts from site where I’ve posted book trailers
Respond to message from fan who read my latest newsletter
Send in news for RWA and MWA local chapter newsletters
Send in author tidbit for Ninc Blast online newsletter
Confirm speaking engagement date with local bookseller
Respond to mystery author requesting promo tips for Florida
Agree to write a piece for guest blog post by Thanksgiving

And so on. Is it any wonder that I get so behind after going away for a weekend? Writing isn’t only about the creativity. It’s also about the business, as I’ve mentioned below in an earlier post. And like any well-run business, you have to be responsive to maintain good relations with your colleagues. So there you have it in a nutshell.

Often friends will ask me what’s new, and I say, “Oh, not much. I’ve been concentrating on writing and promotion.” That sounds boring. Instead, don’t you think I should tell them exactly what we writers do all day?

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4 Responses to “A Writer’s Life”

  1. But while doing all that other stuff, I always find my thoughts returning to the story, to things I can add, changes I need to make, deeper characterizations, etc. So even when we’re not writing, in a way we’re still writing.

  2. I’m trying to catch my breath! Holy Moly are you organized. I should be half as good. You’re amazing Nancy!

  3. In one way that’s true, Allison. In another, all these other marketing activites can suck away our creative energy. And Mary, you do pretty good yourself with promo.

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