As many of you know, Indie Authors often have day jobs that they use to sustain their writing habits. In the past four years, I have written 9 books (published 8 with 2 on the way) all with working in a job where I travel 45 weeks per year and work an average of 10-12 hours per day.
Because of my job, there isn’t a typical day, but there is often a typical type of day, so I thought I would map that out for you.
Monday (Travel Day)
On Mondays, I’m typically up at about 4-4:30 AM for the 42 mile trip from my house to the airport. It’s a long boring ride, but luckily I have a great driver. My wife and I only own one car, so I ride in a vintage Lincoln Continental that is in mint condition. My driver’s name is James and he and I have spirited conversations, even that early in the morning. He has been driving me for about five years and has even been featured in a couple of my books.
Once I arrive at the airport and make my way to the gate, the people watching begins. I have a notebook that’s easily accessible in my backpack. I’m constantly jotting down ideas as I watch the people and the news feed on the airport screens.
When it’s time for the flight, I do something very important. My first flight is generally from Jacksonville to Atlanta. I have trained myself to go right to sleep when I get on the plane. I’m always in a window seat so I can sit down and nod off immediately. This gets me 60-90 minutes of extra sleep in the morning.
Once I’m in Atlanta, I’m usually connecting to the real destination for my work. This destination can be as close as Baltimore or as far as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Minneapolis or anywhere else that I’m staffed on a project. The length of the flight and the amount of ‘real’ work I have to do dictates how much writing will take place.
If I have a writing project that I’m anxious to get to, I’ll have my laptop out while we’re at the gate and then I’ll put it away as the aircraft door closes and sit anxiously waiting for the tone to ‘ding’ at 10,000 feet so I can pull it out again. Depending on the length of the flight, I have written multiple chapters or entire short stories on a crowded plan with my elbows pinned tightly against me. Not comfortable, but it works for me.
Ah, the glamorous life of traveling for work. I’ve seen the inside of more Marriott and Sheraton hotels than you can name. Sometimes I have a great view from my room and other times, I have a view of the garbage dumpsters. I travel so much that I sometimes wake up disoriented wondering where I am.
Monday nights are often tough, especially if I’m west of Eastern time. Remember, I have been up since 4 AM. If I’m on the west coast, I’ll arrive around noon (Pacific) and still have 5-6 hours of work ahead of me. This means that, by the time I check into the hotel at 7 PM, I’ve been up for 18 hours. I’m an old guy and this usually means an early bed time. Not much writing gets done on Mondays.
Tuesday and Wednesday:
The days that I spend away from home and family are tough. The days are very long and active. Very often, I’m in the client office by 7:30 and leave at 6 or 6:30. Luckily, I am an early riser. The first thing I do when I wake up at about 5 AM is log onto WordPress.
These are generally very busy days (day job-wise). They are full days at the office. I try to protect my evenings for writing. These are the nights when my co-workers are going out and soaking in the local culture and I’m soaking in the hotel room.
This is when I catch up on blog posts and writing projects (usually there are multiple). I spend a solid three hours per night with these activities.
It’s time to travel again, only in reverse. Usually, this means an abbreviated day in the office and a flight that leaves sometime after 4 PM (depending on where I’m starting from). It also means a late night arrival at home. Usually, because of my introverted nature, I’m very withdrawn on Thursday evenings. I’ve been known to wear earbuds with nothing playing in them just to use them as a defense mechanism against anyone feels like talking to me.
This is a great time to write. I want to escape the world of crowded airports and airplanes. A nice long flight with a first-class upgrade is just the ticket to get some writing done. Sometimes I’m still wired after I arrive at home and will sneak off to my home office to do some writing.
Friday is a catch-up day for my day-job tasks. It’s when expenses and time sheets are submitted and meetings outside of client work are held. It’s also a day when my commute is about 30 steps from my bedroom to my home office. The day is spent in shorts and a t-shirt and I thank goodness that my meetings aren’t video calls.
I sneak in writing and blogging on Fridays. My office is set up with a docking station for my work computer and a desktop with two 26 inch monitors. I can spin my chair and access both computers very easily while I work, write and catch up on streaming shows (another aspect of my writing – the need for distraction – which I may discuss in another post).
My Saturday and Sunday mornings and late nights are for writing. I also have a nine year old daughter and a 1 year old granddaughter that, along with my wife, deserve a bunch of my time on the weekend. I try not to interrupt that time with work or writing, but I do squeeze in 2-4 hours of writing activity each day.
Rinse and Repeat:
By Monday, it’s time to do it all over again. Sometimes, if I think about my schedule, I get depressed, but, if I just experience it, it cycles fairly quickly and, before you know it, I have completed books and stories.
So what about you? How many of you write full time? Who else has a dreaded day job that supports your writing?