Friday, April 25, 2014

What Does a Writer Do All Day?

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

I had a teen job shadow me this week, which got me thinking about the things I spend time on. Here is my list.

My word count goal changes depending on my current project and deadline. I like to divide my final word count goal by the days I have to get it done to find out how many words I need to type a day to reach the goal.

I could be re-writing a book or working on line edits from my publisher.

This is when I'm thinking up a new book. I might play around by drawing maps. I might sit with a notebook and jot down ideas. I might go on a long drive to think, think, think.

I spend too much time online researching. I lose hours in this. I dream of making enough money someday to hire a tech assistant to help me with this. It could happen. You never know.

I read a lot. I read fiction. I read non fiction. Some of it is for research. Some of it is to read my genre. Some is to read books that are getting a lot of buzz. Some is to read a book a publisher sent to me for an endorsement. Some is because I just want to read a book for fun. But I'm a writer, and I should be a reader too. So I read.

Business Writing
This is when I have to write proposals, synopses, queries, and such. It can be very time consuming. But sometimes it is easier than I expect. And those are good days.

I am addicted to Adobe Photoshop. And I use it for so many things. I create ads for my books. I create maps for my books. I create extras for my books. I also create images for posting on Facebook or Pinterest.

I blog for Go Teen Writers. And when I have time, I blog on my author website. I haven't blogged on my author website in several weeks...

Website Updates
I periodically must update my author website so that it is current. I do this at least once a month to keep up with my monthly giveaway. But I also change ads every-so-often. And I like to update my WIP word counts. I don't know if anyone looks at those. But it makes me happy to see them grow.

Social Media
I should only pop onto Facebook or Twitter once or twice a day. But I often leave it open all day and do a lot of procrastinating there. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to just not log in each morning.

I spend time promoting my books or myself in various ways. I try only to do this when I have a new book, only because I could make a full time job out of promotion. Doing interviews falls into this category. And book giveaways too.

Critiquing Others
When my author friends need help, I read their work and give them feedback. And I do occasional critiques for people as well. I also judge contests sometimes. I try not to do too many critiques because this is one of the most time-consuming things I do. I just can't critique quickly.

This is a beast that haunts me. I feel as though I will never catch up on email. It just keeps coming. And some of them are harder or more time-consuming to answer than others. So those tend to sit in my inbox until I have some extra time, which I often have none of.

I also spend quite a bit of time with snail mail. I do lots of giveaways. And sometimes people buy books from me online. So I make many trips to the post office to mail things. They know me well down there.

Bills, Royalty Payments, and Taxes
I am a business, and as such, I have bills to pay. Many more bills than I'd like. So that takes time each month. I also pay royalties to Stephanie for the GTW book and to my friends who adopted a child for Chokepoint. I try to pay royalties every quarter. It takes me several hours to do this. And when tax time rolls around, I need at least two days to get my stuff all added up and turned in to my accountant.

Looking for Stuff
Sadly, I waste time looking for things I've misplaced. Last week, I spent and hour and a half looking for a map that I'd brainstormed some notes on. It is very frustrating. I do try to keep organized so that this doesn't happen. But every once in a while, it just does.

No wonder I have trouble getting my word count in some days! How about you? What do you do all day?


  1. I love looking at your updated WIP word counts!

    1. Oh, yay! Thanks, Julia! Someone looks! *hugs* (But that means you know that they haven't changed for a few weeks...) Here's why. 1. I got my line edits on Rebels, so I had to drop everything to do those. And 2. I'm working on a new story and need to write a synopsis. But I haven't written the story, so I've been brainstorming a lot and writing... none. :-(

    2. Good luck with those! What's in a line edit? Does the editor point at a sentence and say "fix it"?

    3. Sometimes. A line edit is mostly tweaking sentences, fixing misspellings and punctuation mistakes, continuity errors (for example, I was using the wrong last name for Levi and had to fix those. And I also had to go back to book one to remember if I had capitalized Thin Plague or not. Things like that). And the editor will also point out plot mistakes. One that I caught myself in this edit was how Omar went over the wall, landed and ran to the train station. But when he went back up, there was an additional chainlink fence ten feet before the wall. Strange, since the chainlink fence wasn't there the first time he came down... So I had to go back and add in the chainlink fence.

      Hopefully the editor and I caught all the problem areas in the book once and for all.

  2. I go to school, study a bit at home, read, play soccer, write blog posts, study for tests, write emails, cross-stitch, read blogs and more. :)

    1. Oh and by the way, I like getting e-mails. :)

  3. Thanks for the insight into what authors do besides write. :)
    As to how I spend my day... mostly school, chores and going to the gym. After that I've been reading more than writing... (I''ve been suffering from a case of writers block). Hopefully I can get some more written today, though. :)

  4. Work with Dad from 0700-1800 most days, cone in, eat supper, boot up my slow old laptop, email my friends, check my blog, and then write some. If I'm not working then I stay outside in the yard and write in the evenings, or go inside and type some if I get an idea. I'm actually started a new story last night, Fingers of Earth.

  5. I love this post! So cool to see what you do every day. And, ugh, emails are the worst unless they're telling you you've won something or have a new friend request.

    I have a list sitting on my desk of what I need to get done each day. According to the checklist, I have to write one stanza of a song, six hundred words of my novel--in order, not a random scene, do a newspaper/dictionary blackout poem, write a journal entry, and answer one character question for one character. Once all of that is done, I'll sing, play piano, make up a tune on my guitar, blog, critique other people's writing, read, study, and if all else fails, clean my room. Any other time is spent reading craft posts, like here on GTW or on Writer Unboxed.

  6. When I saw the title of this post, I instantly thought of my favorite Orson Scott Card quote:

    "A writer's life is boring indeed. I write stories about people who take risks, who reach out and change the world. But when it comes to my life, it mostly consists of hanging around at home, writing when I have to, playing computer games or watching TV whenever I can get away with it."

  7. Mostly, I spend my time doing school and then I read or write. Its hard to know whether to read or write when I'm in the middle of a really good book...........thank goodness I usually read a book in one day. ;)

  8. lol, I spend too much time getting up to grab things that I forgot. Ex: Grab coffee, sit down. Realize I left my notes in other room, get up and find those. Sit down. Realize I have no water, get up and get one. Sit down. Discover that there was a book I was going to reference, go find it. Hour and a half later... I now have everything I need.

  9. I do school all day. :/
    To be honest with myself, I haven't written much in a few weeks! I'm at a bit of a writer's block and would need a full day of solitude in my cave to get past it. Grr.

  10. I'm always soooo busy :b besides writing lots, I have school and housework. I like to read, sew, knit, and embroider. Recently I saw an add in a magazine needing writers, so I contacted them. Now I have to interview 9 ex-hutterites and write a report on them and their book "Hutterites" :)

  11. Thanks for sharing how you spend your days, guys. I loved reading about it! :-)

  12. I get up, have my devotions, I've been trying to bike or take a walk, then I eat breakfast, clean the dining room, water my plants/brush teeth/whatever, eventually start school, end up chasing a little brother around or rescuing a frog from the pool or something at some point during the day. Have lunch. Finish school, sometime between 1-4:30 (widely varies...). Then I get the mail, read, maybe practice violin, maybe write, do emails/social media/blogs, watch the little ones, help with dinner, eat dinner, clean stuff, go to the library or some other evening activity, take a shower, write in my journal, go to bed. That's just a typical day. Could have a field trip or co-op or church or something too. :)