A television news crew spent yesterday morning filming the staff at my day job for a feature on our city’s tourism bureau. We were told beforehand to think of a good answer to the question, “what do you do here?”
Something besides, “surf porn at my desk while sucking cookie crumbs out of my keyboard.”
I did pretty well summing up my role as the marketing and public relations manager for Visit Bend. My job is to plant hundreds of little fishing lures designed to reel visitors to the outdoor playground of the West with blog posts, brochure copy, web content, Facebook updates, Twitter feeds, and wooing journalists to write about us.
Not a bad gig, really.
The process of summing up what I do 24 hours a week at the day job got me wondering how I’d describe the remaining 168 hours I wear my author hat. It’s a question I get at nearly every public speaking engagement – what does your writing routine look like?
Delete the word routine and writing, and you’re on the right track.
People are often surprised to learn how little of a published author’s time is spent writing books. Sure, I write blog posts and promotional copy. I write the occasional new scene in contracted books as I move through the editing channels. I write emails to my agent, editor, critique partners,
mandated psychiatrist, publicist, and various readers and bloggers who
write to me.
But new material designed to go in a brand new book written from scratch?
The last time I did that was in early January. Almost nine months ago.
Is that scary to anyone besides me?
I don’t know if that’s unusual for an author in her debut year, but I suspect it isn’t. True, my debut year has been packed with major life events like divorce and adapting to new housemates and a surprising new relationship and a top secret new project I promise I’ll be allowed to announce any day now.
But still, what author doesn’t have a personal life? We all struggle to balance everything, and it’s a sad fact that actual writing often gets shortchanged.
I’m comforted to realize I’m literally salivating with eagerness to start writing something new. The drool pooling in the keyboard makes those cookie crumbs very difficult to remove. The fact that I haven’t lost my passion for it bodes well for my continued love of writing, even if I haven’t had the chance to pour myself into it for awhile.
If you’re a writer, how much time do you devote per week to crafting brand new scenes for brand new books? If you aren’t a writer, are you surprised to learn how little of an author’s time is spent doing that? Please share!
And seriously, let me know if you’ve got a hint for those crumbs in the keyboard. I don’t think my tongue is long enough.