Self-published writers have to have a routine, much the same as any other working individuals. The stereotypical view of an author getting up at noon, face-planting the coffee pot and smoking joints to bring forth the creative muse is definitely a thing of the past, if it ever existed at all. The likes of Charles Bukowski and Ernest Hemmingway were the epitome of the tortured creative, but for today’s writers and poets, clarity is essential and vodka isn’t always the best way to concentrate. It is however, the best way to drown your sorrows when you haven’t sold a single book today, so it does have its uses. So here is my typical day. Would love to hear yours.
7am – Alarm goes off and I jump out of bed with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. That’s not even true but it painted a pretty picture for a second. Actually, rather than a sweet song, the first words out of my mouth are expletives directed at the alarm clock; there will be much more swearing to come.
7.30am – Fresh from a shower and a quick make-up job which is fooling no-one, I turn the computer on before getting the kids up for school. We swear at each other because we’re all so tired, and in between making their lunch and feeding my dogs, I check my sales on Amazon for the first time. My husband, who is always in an infuriatingly good mood, cheerily asks how my passive income has done overnight. That’s his first mistake of the day.
8.15am – Kids in the car ready to go, I’m lagging behind. I always hear about mums who can’t make their kids get ready on time but in this house, it’s them nagging me. Just check Amazon quickly before I leave; they update about now don’t they?
9.00am – Back from the school run. Time to check book sales; a lot can happen in 45 minutes. Nope, nothing happened. Luckily for me, I do plenty of not-writing self-employed dog boarding, so my clients start to arrive and I know that from at least one source, I will get paid today.
10.00am – My house is now over-run with dogs and walkies need to happen fairly quickly. I’m usually out in the fields for at least an hour so I need to check Amazon before I go. Oooh, I’ve sold two of my 0.99p books, that relates to nearly a penny for each hour I put into them. And yet I feel great. Employers take note: I am very cheap labour.
12.00 – The doggies are all worn out, had a treat and have sprawled themselves over every bit of furniture in the house. It’s time to check Amazon. That second before I click the ‘Reports’ button, is the second that I tell myself that my books are now selling in their hundreds. I have 16 books so that would be really impressive and I could give up the day job. As soon as I click the mouse, reality kicks in. There appears to be a zero missing from the end of the number of books I have actually sold.
1.00pm – Time to open a Word document which contains my latest work in progress. I’m trying to write at least 5000 words a day, so I get down to business. I have an hour before my doggy clients need their next walkies so I should get at least 1000 words done. With a few minutes left of my hour, I hit the Word Count. I’m sure I have met my target until I look at the number of words I have actually written: 563. Sh*t. Still, there’s a few seconds left to check my Amazon sales. Wish I hadn’t bothered. The clock relentlessly ticks down to walkies time.
3.00pm – Doggies and I arrive back from the fields all exhausted. It’s soon time to start the school run so I must quickly check Amazon as I won’t have much time to do it for a while now. I click on ‘Reports’ and realise that my day job is looking as safe as ever. Luckily I really love dogs.
6.00pm – The last three hours have been a ridiculously manic blur of picking up kids, preparing tea, giving the dogs a run round the garden before they go home, returning said dogs to their owners, eating tea, checking homework, checking there are clean uniforms for tomorrow, checking the kitchen is clean, checking I’m not having a breakdown. Now time to check Amazon; okay that’s just added to my sense of hopelessness.
7.00pm – Finally time to sit down at my computer and bang out some more of my new book. Just check Netflix to see where I am with Prison Break; well that’s just made me press ‘Select’ and now I’m fully into another episode. Never mind, I can write while I watch. Who am I kidding, no I can’t; I manage 140 words. I check Amazon one last time; well I’ve sold several books today, not the hundreds or even thousands I hope for but at least they are selling in their twos and threes. Small achievements are always worth celebrating.
10.00pm – I have just binge-watched Prison Break for the last three hours and written, well….nothing. I’m off to bed now because I just can’t stay up any longer so I hover my mouse over ‘Shutdown’ on my computer. Suddenly my hand uncontrollably moves the mouse to my Amazon icon and before I can stop myself, I’ve opened it again. This is definitely the last time, I tell myself….again. It was worth it; one more sale, this time for £2.99. Thank you kind customer; please enjoy the book and come back and buy more. Oh, and tell all your friends. And people in the street you don’t even know. And that literary agent I’m sure you just happen to know.
11.00pm – Having read other author’s books in bed for an hour, I reach to turn out the light and spot my phone, which I had taken to bed with me in case a publisher reads my novels and decides they can’t wait to contact me to offer me a six-figure contract. No messages, so maybe the publishers will wait until the morning out of consideration for the late hour. There’s my Amazon app though, all bright and shiny, just waiting to be tapped. Maybe just one last time……