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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold

SLAY: a day in the life

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Dear Hearts:

Quite often, I am asked the same following multiple questions: How do you go about writing a novel? Who do you know in the publishing world? How long does it take you to write a book?

What do you do all day?

The answer to the first and third questions are subjective, and I don’t know *anyone* in the publishing world. My last name is not Kardashian, Patterson, King, Hawking, Fallon, or De Caprio.

As for the last query, I thought about this one and decided that since there is no hard coded down and dirty simple answer, I would blog my response.

A typical day in the life of this author may not fit your idea of how you imagine the writer’s life. Perhaps you think I sit around in my pajamas all day, watching TV whenever I want, and ordering takeout.

Approximately one or two days a month, you would be correct (not the TV part. I don't watch a lot of television. More like useless You Tube videos). But not on the daily.

Or perhaps you envision my days filled with book signings, speaking engagements, travel, and glamour.

Again, spot on with regard to a few days out of the year.

But for the most part, here is how my typical day unfolds:

I’m usually up at around 7:00 a.m. - ish. I never get out of bed before the sun comes up. Never. I am a night owl, and am typically up at all hours.

Like you, the first thing I do is visit the restroom and start making coffee (not always in that order). While the coffee brews, I make my bed, then wake up my body doing a set of morning exercises called “Tibetan Five”. Then I usually enjoy my java and meditation on the patio in my backyard. I quickly review my personal mission statement list (yes, I have an entire list), check my daily schedule and task list, then shower and dress.

At around 8:00 a.m., I get to work. The first business of the day is visiting all social media platforms. I am part of a few writer groups where we collaborate, share ideas, and sometimes work on projects together - a Mastermind group if you will. And, of course, there is the marketing.

Eric Maisel, author of “Coaching the Artist Within” recommends not to do this. His ideology lies in the camp of do-what-you-love first thing in the morning; even if it means rising at 4:00 a.m.

If I were to follow his advice, I would write my own stuff at first light. His reasoning is sound as he believes that if you get to satisfy your creative juices first, before the rest of your day gets rocking and rolling with all the minutiae that comes with work and family, you at least feel as though you utilized the opportunity to do what you love; no matter what the rest of your day requires from you.

There definitely is validity in this method to his madness (or vice versa). There is a personal sense of accomplishment first thing in your day that tends to carry you through the next twelve to sixteen hours.

But this Virgo eats her vegetables before having dessert. I happen to like vegetables, so it’s not an issue for me. I prefer to get the required things done and off my plate (pun intended) before tackling the creative artist within me. After all, it’s all creative. But what I’m referring to is my stuff. My own novels, short stories, etc.

Next, I look at my editorial calendar to see what is on deck. Sometimes it’s a ghostwriting project. Other days, I have a magazine article deadline looming. Or a blog post (like this one) for my website (I try to post one per week).

By noon, I’ve had multiple cups of coffee (I call it “writer’s juice”) and I’m ready for a break. I might take a walk, call a friend, run an errand, practice violin, vocalize, etc. But I never take longer than an hour time out.

The afternoons are usually taken up with appointments - typically having to do with research of some sort. For instance, right now, I am conducting interviews with experts in a field about which I know absolutely nothing. I also do my own research (I have a community card to a major university library where I have infinite stacks and archives at my disposal. Consequently, I spend an inordinate amount of time there) but I verify my research with professionals who are much more knowledgeable about my writing topics.

When I wrote “The Big Collide”, I spent two years studying Physics. It turned out that I applied maybe one one-hundredth of the Physics I learned toward the book. And, I realized in hindsight that I should have specifically studied Astrophysics!

But that’s a writer’s life.

Live and learn.

Sometimes, the afternoon schedule includes ghostwriting interviews (I drive the process), which are always face to face; editing; time spent with people who help me with technology (I can learn it on my own but I’m s-l-o-w); marketing folks who know more than I do about podcasts and radio spots, and the occasional travel (although, I plan to eventually do more have-laptop-will-travel in coming years.

I typically eat dinner at around 6:00 or 7:00, and then go for a walk or bike ride, spend time with a friend; or if I have a voice student scheduled, I will teach a lesson.

By 8:00 p.m., I’m back at it. This is sacred time. It’s the time of day when I’ve gained a second wind and my creative juices are flowing.

My time.

I don’t answer the phone (unless it’s my kids). From around 8:00 until I feel like going to bed - which could be anywhere from 11:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning - this is when all the characters who live in my head all day long come alive! With nothing to distract me, I take advantage of their flurry of activity in order to create a world in print.

I reserve the weekends for friends, family, church, and my musician life. But, ordinarily, I do fit some writing into the weekends late at night.

And that’s how this author SLAYS the day.

Every day.

All day.

Sometimes in my pajamas (but not very often).

At 11:00 - whether or not I’m actually tired or done for the day, I take a break, do some stretches and Tai Chi, get ready for bed; and if I am still working, I work in bed with the laptop propped up in front of me.

If I have stopped writing for the night, I usually read for about an hour before falling asleep. I always have at least three books on my night stand to simultaneously enjoy.

Writers read, you know. :)

And that, Dear Hearts, concludes a typical day in the life of this author.

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