You’ve probably been able to infer from all of our posts over the years that being a working writer involves a lot of, well, work. But “work” is abstract. “I’m busy,” we all say. “You know — work.” Work meaning the thing that most of our lives are focused on that is necessary to put food on our table and booties on our feet. For the working writer, what does “work” look like on a day to day, week to week basis?
Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve got on my front burners right now — the work of a full-time writer in concrete rather than abstract terms.
- I just finished the rough draft of the twelfth Kitty novel. I have a couple of things to clean up, then I’ll send it to my editor at the end of the month. So it’s still technically sitting on my desk.
- I’m now working on the sequel to my superhero novel, After the Golden Age. I’m about 30,000 words in and trucking along, so I’m pouring a lot of wordage into it for the moment.
- I’m in the middle of writing a new short story in my Harry and Marlowe steampunk series. I put it aside to work on the new novel, but I really need to pick it up again and finish it. I probably will when the novel hits a snag.
- In two weeks, the next Kitty novel, Kitty Steals the Show, will be out. Promotion is taking up quite a bit of time right now. My publisher set up a blog tour, so I’m spending an hour or so a day on interviews, guest posts, and updating my own online outlets. (Like this thing.) I also have a handful of signings/appearances I need to prepare for. I’m avoiding looking at the book’s Amazon page. (No, really…)
- Correspondence: “Catch up on e-mail” is almost always on my to-do list. Sending updated biographies to editors, responding to requests for short story reprints, answering random questions, following up on various leads, etc. (This is the kind of thing that ends up aggravating me, because it really only takes a few minutes a day, but I end up putting it off and avoiding it, which makes it much more stressful than it really needs to be.)
- I have three short story rough drafts that need fairly heavy revision. I might end up taking these with my when I travel to Alabama for a family reunion in a couple of weeks. So I’m not really working on these, but I’m thinking of them. One story is promised to an anthology, due in January, so I’ve got time.
- I’m in the very early stages of thinking about/outlining a short story I’ve promised to another anthology, also due in January. I know what the story is about and I have a rough outline, but because it’s going to be a historical piece set in World War II, I have some research to do first. I’ve got the books out, but I haven’t read them yet. I’ll keep thinking about this and reading the research until I get a critical mass of “story stuff” in my head that’s ready to pour out.
This doesn’t include all the projects on my back burners, like the stories I want to write and the YA space opera that’s half finished and so on and so on… Really, this is a pretty average work load for me. It’s not too bad — I don’t have any galleys or copyedits waiting to be reviewed at the moment. I have maybe more rough drafts than usual needing attention, which gets frustrating. The book promotion is the only overwhelming thing I’m doing right now, and it’ll be over in about a month. By then, my late summer/fall convention season will begin. So if it’s not one thing, it’s another, which is pretty normal in the writing life. And really, I love that I always have something work on. Work = never boring.