Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Day in the Life of an Author

The day in the life of an author is not what most might think. Of course, it varies from author to author, just as the daily routine might vary from one accountant to another. And, when you mix horses in, the daily schedule takes on a life of it’s own.

I can’t speak for other authors, but I know that I need to write in the morning, when my mind is fresh. Usually, I do a quick read through of yesterday’s work, then dive right in. If I am writing nonfiction, something such as a book on horse training, I have an outline to follow. Those of us who publish with traditional publishers have most likely sold a proposal, a detailed outline of the proposed book, to the publisher, and the author needs to follow that outline. Nonfiction is a little easier on my brain, as I write facts, hopefully in an engaging narrative.

While other authors might outline their fiction, I do not. I know it sounds strange, but writing my Cat Enright mystery series is almost like having a conversation with my characters in my head. I sometimes even have disagreements with my characters about how the story should unfold. My saving grace on that front is that I have heard other fiction authors say the same thing.

I usually write for several hours, or until lunchtime. Then it is time to get down to the business of being an author. My booking and literary agents usually have sent some emails for me to respond to. When that has been dealt with I perform the necessary evils of social media and updating my website. I look over any contracts for speaking, horse clinics, writing, or “rights” sales (audio, trade paperback, foreign, etcetera), and sometimes speak to my co-authors about contracts and offers. In addition to horse books I sometimes co-author or ghostwrite autobiographies with well-known people. My books are published with a number of different publishers, so I take calls or answer their emails as well. On occasion, there is an interview to do.

By mid to late afternoon I am ready to head to the barn. Sometimes I teach a riding lesson or two, other times I feed, mow, groom, fix fences, haul hay, do groundwork, or even ride. After an early dinner I read over my morning’s work and make changes, then create a to-do list for my writing for the next day.

Of course, there are interruptions to this basic schedule. Conferences, clinics, book signings, and speaking engagements (and the travel to and from) happen regularly. A horse might become sick, or I get edits back from my editor and hunker down for several days to get through them. Sometimes I find I just need to take a morning to pick up and organize the chaos that has developed around my writing space. But somehow, books are turned in on deadline, horses get fed, and I can’t wait to get up in the morning to start it all over again.

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