Shannon here: Amber Stockton shares a day in her writing life, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction title, Peach Blossom Parade. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Deadline: June 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Amber:
It always makes me smile when I speak at an event or do any kind of author appearance, and someone comes up to ask me what it’s like being an author. Many people have this grandiose idea in their mind. Somehow, the writer gets sensationalized or elevated to this mysterious pedestal, staring into empty space while the rest of the world fades away.
Despite all my best-laid plans, a typical day doesn’t contain much writing at all! Surprised to learn that? Most non-writers usually are. It’s not like the “9-5” job where you leave your home, go to work, focus on that work, then return home. When you’re a writer, your job and your work intertwine with your real life. If you’re also a parent with children at home, your family is thrown into the mix as well.
For me, this means waking up at 5:45 or 6am every morning so I can snatch a few quiet moments before everyone else is awake. Then, it’s turning myself into a drill sergeant as I attempt to get the kids and the husband moving in the right directions toward getting ready for the day. Ever heard the phrase about the challenge of herding cats? Yep. That’s spot on for my mornings.
Once everyone is dressed, they’ve been fed, lunches are packed, and they’re all out the door to work or school, that’s when I can sit down and start to write. Ha! That’s when I have to do the clean-up following the tornado that happened during the morning routine. After that, I go through the to-do list for the day, starting in on what I can accomplish before normal business hours by just sending off a few emails.
On any given day, this could include following up with my agent on proposals out with potential publishers, scheduling coffee/tea dates with friends, interacting with teachers about the status of my children in school, confirming volunteer sign-ups for various activities, paying bills, and a host of other possibilities.
If I finish that and I don’t have any early appointments that day, I might be able to squeeze in 30 minutes of research and/or writing before the clock chimes nine, and I can make phone calls to businesses. That often leads to more phone calls, or more time looking up things needed to complete those calls.
Then, there’s the general daily chores and upkeep of the house. It’s amazes me how only three people (husband and two children) can make such a mess in such a short amount of time. I don’t completely clean up after them every day, but I do at least collect their messes into piles they are required to put away when they get home.
Once the household requirements are done, I grab some lunch and finally sit down at my computer to do some writing. Again, this only happens if I didn’t have any appointments that day and nothing else demanded my time. Even this precious writing time is short-lived, though, as I leave around 2:30 in the afternoon to pick up my kids from school.
Once they’re home, it’s focus back on family again all the way until bedtime at eight. Then, there’s time with my husband discussing what needs to be done or handled and planning for the next day. If that all gets done, and I’m not mentally or physically exhausted, I MIGHT be able to squeeze in another thirty minutes or an hour of writing before I hit the hay.
A fellow author who homeschooled her eight children (yes, eight!) gave a talk on, “How to write a book in eight minutes a day.” I never knew how true that could be until I had a husband and family. You learn to snag every spare moment you can and make the best of it.
So, there you have it. It might not be typical for every writer, but it IS the typical day for me. When I first started writing, I was single, so I had a lot more flexibility in my schedule. Now, I have learned to schedule my writing time just like I schedule anything else in my life. When I have a book deadline, the writing becomes a higher priority, and other things in life get rescheduled or shifted a little further down the list.
For my most recent book, this became quite a challenge. We had a lot of upheaval in our lives the past few months, and I was working toward a deadline. However, when our family dog was diagnosed with cancer, and we had to say goodbye, it started a cascade of circumstances that has thrown quite the curve ball. A lot more was demanded of me and my time as we dealt with the repercussions of the loss with our children, and this resulted in my May 15th release turning into a July 15th release.
Life is nothing if not unexpected, right? All is good. It only means I won’t have a giveaway available until later in the summer, but there is still a giveaway offered with this post. You only have to answer the question at the end of the post.
About Amber: Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who works in the health & wellness industry and is a strong advocate for literacy in children. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their daughter, son, and a Shiba Inu-mix named Nova in Colorado. She has sold 20 books so far, three of which have won annual reader’s choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Peach Blossom Parade: The loss of her mother to cancer at a young age turned Gabrielle Carter into a “mother hen” to all around her. Her job as Events Coordinator at the county fair seemed like the perfect fit, but it isn’t enough. When Erik Winston lost his wife to cancer, he was forced to become mother and father to their little girl. As assistant director of the county fair, supervising Gabi Carter is a bonus, but he can’t allow himself to get close to anyone again. The pain from his loss hurts too much. When the brainstorming sessions over the Parade details turn into swapping stories about their lives, Gabi and Erik play along but proceed with caution. It’s Erik’s five-year-old daughter who melts Gabi’s heart and poses questions that get Erik thinking. After learning the little girl also lost her mother to cancer, Gabi decides to fill the void in Ariella’s life. But God has something much better in store for them all…
Question for Readers: When were the plans you made completely disrupted? Have you ever been forced to roll with plan B (or C, D, E, F, etc.)?
Come back June 1st for June Foster!