Friday, May 27, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Writer

A day in the life of a writer….

Did you ever wonder how some of your favorite authors spend their writing days? So did I. So, I asked. And these are the responses I got.

Maureen Lang says: My writing day begins the moment I see my two sons off to school in the morning. Since one of my boys has a disability (Fragile X Syndrome) it's a little more difficult for me to work at home when he's here. So the minute I have a quiet house, I sit down at the computer to write. If I'm just beginning a project I may spend time doing research, but once I'm into one of my story ideas I usually write from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then break for lunch. I may return to the computer after that, but it isn't long before my son returns so my writing day is pretty much over. If I'm writing a first draft I usually re-read what I wrote the day before, do a bit of polishing, then continue from there. A good day for me brings as many as fifteen to twenty new pages, but when I'm just getting to know my characters it might be as few as three to six. It usually takes me about one hundred pages before I know my characters well enough for the story to flow consistently (I'm more of seat-of-the-pants writer than extensive plotter). But I will say that no matter how my writing day goes, at some point either at the beginning or the end I say a prayer of complete and utter gratitude to have a job so satisfying.


Look for the newly re-released Look to the East to complete your set of my Great War Series! This is the book that started it all, set in France just as the First World War began. Available any day now from Tyndale House Publishers, along with Whisper on the Wind and Springtime of the Spirit already on the shelves.



Maureen Lang
My website
My blog
Connect with me on Facebook
Whisper On The Wind, September 2010
Springtime of the Spirit, March 2011

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Laura V. Hilton says: I wake up around 5:45. I spend time in prayer, then usually fall back asleep until 8 or 9. I homeschool my three girls (ages 15, 9, and 6), check email, do household chores and errands, and then I write in the afternoons. Around 10 p.m. or so, I close the computer and read recent releases until I go to bed around midnight. http://laurav.hilton.blogspot.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512 Author of Patchwork Dreams (available now) and A Harvest of Hearts (coming 9-2011)

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Linda Ford says: I awaken with my plans firmly in place. I’m going to write all day. I’m going to achieve tons. I’m enthused about the story and can’t wait to get at it. First I write in my journal and have my devotions. Grab a bite to eat and check the email. Then I’m ready. Whoops. My live-in client needs me. I tend to him. Back to the computer. Open my document and begin where I started yesterday in order to connect again with the story. The phone rings. My husband is severely hearing impaired and can’t hear a telephone conversation so I have to take care of incoming calls which half the time end up being annoying telemarketers who, by now, barely make a bump in my busy brain. Back to the screen. Read over what I wrote yesterday and do some editing. Crack my fingers, stretch my neck and I’m ready to begin. Suddenly I hit an invisible wall. Mentally I start to whine. I don’t know what to write. I don’t feel like it. I’m tired. Maybe another cup of coffee will help. This happens every morning. Yup, every morning. One way I get through it is set the little timer I keep handy for 15 or 20 minutes and force myself to write anything. But why waste my time? I might as well write about the story. Most times this gets me going. I sort of know why I balk every morning. I think it’s because once I’m in the story I’m in another world and getting there takes effort. Also, writing emotional stuff is draining. But I succeed and sometimes, despite the phone and the needs of my client, I manage to get a good amount done. (5000 words is a good amount.) The ironic thing is at the close of the day (and that hour depends on other tasks requiring my attention) I hate to shut down the computer. Coming back out of the fictional world is not hard but it is a jolt.

Linda Ford’s website is www.lindaford.org

Her latest book is Klondike Medicine Woman (Love Inspired Historical) available now. (May 2011)

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Max Elliot Anderson says: For nearly 4 years, I wrote straight through until 36 manuscripts were finished. In the beginning, I had no agent and no publisher, but I kept on writing. Then my first publisher went bankrupt, but I kept on writing. Today I spend most of my time in promotion, marketing, and platform building. By the end of this year, 8 or 9 of my books will be published. The next book to be released is When the Lights Go Out. It’s for readers 8 and up, especially boys, to release in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, so we never forget. http://max-whenlightsgoout.blogspot.com I'm looking forward to writing again in the future.

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David C. Marx says: I am retired. I write when my wife is away. She is involved in a number of civic events. When she is attending a meeting, i have a quiet setting. I am able to jot notes of scenes, finish episodes of a character, do research, begin a new chapter, etc. Oh yes, I am able to revise and even read aloud revisions.

David C Marx

Heather Young (2011)

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Rosanna M. White says: My life is pretty much the same from day-to-day, so be prepare to be wowed. Ready? Here it goes. Somewhere between 6 and 7, one or both of my kids (ages 3 and 5) come bounding up the stairs. The wake-up varies from “Mwaaaaaaaa!” to “Mommy! Mommy, yake up! Is it morning? Mommy! Can we play?” (I prefer the second, LOL.) After pulling myself out of bed and down the stairs, I get them both breakfast, check my email, post my blog, get them some other breakfast usually, or a drink, indulge in a cup of coffee, force myself to suffer through a workout, shower, cajole my daughter to her desk for school, try in vain to squeeze some writing in, and pray for
naptime to come SOON. ;-)

First, though, I must feed them lunch. At which point I realize I haven't
yet eaten breakfast. I manage both, then get the boy-o into bed. I finish
up school with my daughter, then finally, FINALLY get to open my
work-in-progress. I write frantically until naptime is over (parrying
requests from the girl-o for ice cream every five minutes), and when my
son's up again I realize that, oops, I haven't planned dinner. After trying
to get out of it for half an hour, I finally give in and go to the kitchen,
where I put together a usually-pathetic-excuse for dinner, then look around
and realize my house exploded while I was lost in novel-land.

So after dinner is often spent trying to pick up the wreckage, while the
kids follow behind me pulling out everything I put away. We have a nightly
book-reading ritual, I wrestle them into their jammies, hubby joins us for
the pre-sleep hide-and-seek game and helps with tucking in, then I get my
cuddle time with the man of my dreams. Unless a hockey game is on, in which
case I get time to read or write some more. =)
--
Roseanna M. White
LOVE FINDS YOU IN ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND coming December 2011
JEWEL OF PERSIA, ebook available now, print coming June 2011

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Roger Brunner says: I normally get up at 6:30 when my wife has to be up. I fix breakfast and then check email, news, Facebook, and Twitter. Usually, by the time she leaves at 7:45, I'm ready to start writing. I do my writing from the living room loveseat, using either my Dell Vostro laptop or my new Toshiba netbook, which is considerably lighter and more comfortable. I usually get up and stretch at least five minutes every hour, and at some point I have a mid-morning snack and go to 7/11 to get my daily fountain drink refill. That may take up to thirty minutes. So by the time my wife comes home for lunch (around 12:45), I am apt to have put in three to three-and-a-half good writing hours. I'm forming a new afternoon habit: taking the Toshiba to the wi-fi cafeteria area at the grocery store about a mile up the road. It's a nice break to actually be working at a table. I usually stay there about two hours. Whether I do additional writing later at home (during the evening specifically) depends, but I frequently do marketing-related activities then--after supper and exercise time. As a full-time writer who doesn't have a current deadline, I have to admit that this "typical" day is subject to tremendous variations. (For example, I play at a nursing home on Wednesday mornings and seldom attempt any writing Wednesday afternoon.)

Young Adult Christian fiction rippling with laughter, tears, and YES! moments
Found in Translation (Barbour, January 2011); Lost in Dreams (Barbour, August 2011)
RogerBruner.com<>Facebook.com/Roger.Bruner

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Margeret Browley turned on computer and hit the coffeepot at a little after four this morning. Ready to work. Today the goal is to write 5000 words—or bust.

Five a.m. Five hundred words miraculously appeared on my screen—kept two.

Checked email.

Six a.m. Wrote another five hundred words—kept three. I’m on a roll. I now have one beautifully composed sentence.

Checked email.

Seven a.m. Wrote five hundred words—dumped everything I’d written so far today.

Checked email.

Eight a.m. Made another pot of coffee. Rewrote goal: 100 words or bust.

Coming in June: A Vision of Lucy

Coming in September: A Log Cabin Christmas Collection/Snow Angel



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Thomas Smith says: I usually get up about 6 a.m., take the new puppy out, hang out with my wife while she gets ready for work, then I hit the gym about 7 a.m. By 8:30 I have cleaned up, poured the first cup of coffee, grabbed a bagel, and head upstairs to my office. I spend a little time updating social media, then I start sending out queries and working on proposals. After I hit my target number for the day, I edit what I did the day before and work on whatever project/projects are on deadline. Then I spend the rest of the time working on my new novel (Stranger). I usually break for lunch sometime between noon and 2:00, depending on how much I have going on. Sometimes I bring a sandwich upstairs and eat while I work. I answer emails and give the social media another quick check, then back to the new book. I work until my wife gets home around 6 p.m. I love what I do.

My supernatural suspense novel, Something Stirs, should be released next month. (Some houses are only haunted ... this one is worse).

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Delia Latham author of Kylie’s Kiss says: I am blessed to be able to write "full time" - which doesn't mean I write eight hours a day, although I would produce a whole lot more if I did! I'm not a morning person, so my day starts slowly, but consistently - with a glass of Dr. Pepper. (Hey, that's my coffee!) I do what needs to be done around the house in the morning...or not. Most of my networking/promotion/marketing efforts take place in the afternoon. I take a break to have dinner with husband (who is the cook our family...yay, Johnny!), and spend some time with him - watching our ever-growing DVR list, taking a drive, visiting a relative, whatever we decide. Serious writing starts at about 8 p.m., and usually lasts well into the wee hours. My best writing is done late at night, when the rest of the world is sleeping, and I have no interruptions. It's not a set-in-stone schedule, but it's definitely set in Jello consistency!

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If there's such a thing as a typical writing day for Susan Page Davis:

First check email and wrap up loose ends from yesterday. Do new writing on WIP. Do revisions on other WIP. If I have galleys or other requests from editors (such as art sheets, influencer lists, back cover copy, whatever), work on those. If not, work on interviews and other promotional tasks. Today my writing day includes: Trip to the post office to mail some books to the Southern Festival of Books coordinator; writing at least 2,000 on WIPS; doing at least ten pages of revisions. Somewhere in there I'll also pick up my new glasses, do laundry, and wave at my family at meals. www.susanpagedavis.com

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Donna Crows says: My day starts with morning tea and devotions on the sofa in my office. I do yoga exercises while my computer boots, then I set to: Check e-mail first and usually spend about an hour on marketing— writing a blog, replying to a listserve or an Amazon discussion group, something like that. Then the real work. Right now I'm in the research phase for book 3 in my Monastery Murders series. Felicity and Fr. Antony are leading a youth walk along an ancient pilgrimage trail in Wales— which means I'm going cross-eyed reading ordnance Survey Explorer maps trying to plot their route. I'll stay with it until about 3:00 when I break for afternoon tea with my husband (whose office is also at home). If you're thinking there's a tea theme here, you're absolutely right. Then I do another round of e-mail and promo and a bit more research until Stan says it's time to go for a walk before dinner which tends to be late. A spot of relaxing with Stan and the telly (right now we're watching "Downton Abbey") before I fall asleep over my current reading (Connie Willis' BLACKOUT).

A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders came out last fall, A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH will be out this fall.

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Staci Stallings says: My "style" of writing is chaotic at best. With three kids, a husband, two businesses, a house, a yard, and two schools, my writing "day" may happen or it may not. When I'm not at the computer writing, editing, or publishing something however, I'm always thinking. I'm either plotting in my head (i.e. running through what could happen) or I'm keeping an eye out for the piece God is having me wait for. It never fails--when I have hit a road block that may last an hour or literal a few years, there is always a piece of the puzzle God has yet to reveal. That can get frustrating because my tendency is to want to FORCE it to work. But my ideas, agenda, and plans never work out as well if I go when God's fire has stopped. If I can discipline myself to just wait and be patient, when the fire takes off again, it is ALWAYS worth it. Here's my level best advice to all writers... become best friends with God, trust Him to guide all of your writing--whether that means you are called to write 2,000 words every single day or nothing for a month and then 9 or 10,000 in a day like me. You will never, ever regret it!

Staci Stallings Newest release "A Light in the Darkness" can be found at Staci's blog http://spiritlightworks.wordpress.com (for free) or at the Amazon Kindle store.

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JoAnn Durgin says: My favorite day of the week to write is Sunday. We observe the Lord's day by resting as much as possible, and it's a quiet household (a rarity). My family understands that's my time to work on my manuscript. I work a full-time job Monday-Friday, and my lunch hour is usually spent writing, editing or marketing. I also try to spend at least an hour writing or editing each evening. I used to carve out 11 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. to write, but my brain and body are currently rebelling against that practice.

JoAnn Durgin

Author of Awakening: A Christian Romance Novel

Second Time Around coming Summer 2011

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Jo Walker says: My day of writing may be very different because I work the night shift, 10pm to 6:30am at the local long term care center. This means, of course, I sleep days. I am so happy when I actually get to sleep at least seven hours. That said, I am new to writing. I finished my first book of 100,000 words last October and have been learning how to write ever since. I had been struggling through the process, reading recommended books and trying to apply what I learned. I felt like I was bouncing around a lot. Throwing a lot of mud on the wall hoping some correct writing would stick. It was pretty hectic. It was recommended that I look for an online writing group. I searched and joined American Christian Fiction Writers, that changed everything. I have been sitting in front of my computer almost non-stop, due to the fact I now feel like I'm in college learning how to write instead of kindergarten. I realize I need to bring some balance but for this newbie to writing, I am going at high speed. Yes, I cook for my husband, do the wash and sometimes make the bed. The rest waits and waits and waits, until finally I am drug from my computer to plug in the vacuum. Look for my book HOPE, a mystery with a dash of romance to be published by years end.

And there you have it. Everyone is different, unique, and just like the books they write.

3 comments:

  1. That sure was interesting, Laura. Thanks for giving us a glimpse in the life of these writers.

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  2. I loved reading this interesting info, Laura! So many have told me I should pursue writing (even if only in summer) and I've even got the "How to write an e-book" from Amazon! Ugh...well anyway--
    you inspire me, girlfriend! :)

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  3. I enjoyed reading this, Laura! So many have encouraged me to pursue writing--even if only in summer. I even got an Amazon book on how to publish along with another Christian Writers book...who knows what plans the Lord may have in the future, but you sure do inspire me to never ever give up on a dream!

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