• Natasha Boydell

A day in the life of an author

Is it all sitting around in Starbucks, drinking lattes and penning literary masterpieces? You bet your bottom dollar that it is… most definitely not. Here is my typical day as an author…

I’ll let you into a little secret. I’ve never written in a coffee shop. Literally not once. In my life.

Now, I may be the exception, not the rule. All around the world, right now, there are probably dozens of authors writing their next bestseller in their local hipster coffee house. The reality is that there is no one typical day in the life of an author because we are all different. Our days can be as diverse as our books.

For example, some authors get up at the crack of dawn to write. Others are night owls. Some have to fit their writing around a full-time job, others are fortunate to have made a career out of it. Some create a banging playlist before they start their new manuscript, others need to work in total silence.

But there are consistencies between authors too. We don’t spend every waking hour writing our books (if only!). Even after removing the daily challenges of life, we have other important considerations – research, planning, editing, marketing, promotion, attending events, procrastination. Sometimes, in a pie of a day, putting words on paper only gets a small slice, if at all.

After writing three books, with a fourth in progress, I’ve got into a bit of a pattern now. It may not work for everyone, but it seems to be doing it for me. So here is my typical day.

My typical day as an author

6.45am – Wake up, try to get dressed before being invaded by children.

7.30am - Family breakfast.

8.30am – Take kids to school. Get a cheeky takeaway coffee.

9am – Write my daily to do list. Check emails, book rankings (can’t help myself), social media. Procrastinate. Get distracted by life admin.

9.45am – Still procrastinating. Make another coffee. Look at my self-made marketing content plan and start drafting a blog post / social media post / newsletter.

11am – Can’t stop thinking about lunch. Open up my next manuscript. Get distracted by my day job (I work part-time as a communications consultant).

11.55am – Go back to my manuscript and start writing. Creative juices are flowing! I am full of ideas!

12.00pm – Five minutes later, husband emerges from his home office upstairs and suggests lunch. I am hungry. Close manuscript again.

12.30pm – Finish lunch. Panic that I only have 2.5 hours left before I pick the kids up and I’ve barely written yet. Berate myself for being a failure of a human being. Drown in self-loathing. Then start writing in earnest.

3pm – Have written 3,000 words. My brain is so full of ideas that I have to keep stopping in the street as I'm walking to school so that I can jot them down. Feel high as a kite and promise myself that tomorrow I will get less distracted and write more.

3.30pm – Homework and hungry children take over. Sometimes I write in the evening but often I’m too pooped. I do steal off at weekends to do a couple of hours though.

There are other days that I don’t write at all. Sometimes it’s because I’m working, or I’m researching or brainstorming my next manuscript, a process which is just as critical as the writing part. Other times I’m knee deep in edits for my about-to-be published manuscript.

Like many jobs, no two days are the same. Do I wish I could head to Starbucks, turn off my phone and emails, and simply write all day, uninterrupted? Perhaps, but then I might miss the call from the school telling me that one of my children is sick. I might not see the Twitter DM from JK Rowling declaring that she loves my novel and wants to endorse it immediately, but I have to let her know in the next thirty minutes. (This didn’t actually happen, just FYI).

Life is life, it gets in the way, so all you can do is make sure you find some calm in the storm to write, even if it’s just in short bursts.

Anyway, to be honest, I love cafes but I prefer to work close to my fridge.

What about you? How do you work best? What’s your typical day?

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