A Day in the Life of a Published Author: Nancy J. Parra guest blog

~Today’s blog comes FROM NANCY J. PARRA!~

5 a.m. – no, really, some people get up that early. Writer stumbles out of bed, hair sticking up all over, face dragging and smeary-eyed, hunts for coffee. Cup in hand, sips, burns tongue, mutters bad words as they turn on the computer. Writer enters password and drinks coffee waiting for computer to come to life. This takes fifteen minutes as the computer is old and too full of data — or new and too full of data.

5:30 a.m. – writer clicks on shortcut to Word program and feels virtuous. (If you don’t have a word shortcut on your desktop, put one on there. It will impress others.) Then brings up web browser — or two. Computer protests so writer brings up solitaire for something to do while computer cranks.

6:00 a.m. – writer has been hard at work for over an hour with four games of solitaire plus e-mail alerts.

6:15 a.m. – spouse gets up and is not shocked by clown appearance of writer nor the slight caffeinated tremble in fingers that are typing furiously… a Facebook update.

7:00 a.m. – spouse leaves for work dutifully kissing writer on cheek. Notes that writer has an open Word file up with blinking cursor. “How’s it going, dear?” “Great,” writer says. “I don’t know how you work so hard,” spouse shakes head. “I love what I do,” writer answers.

7:05 a.m. – writer glares at blinking cursor. Perhaps if I read what I wrote yesterday…

scrolls up two pages and rereads. Bleh. Highlights, copies, cuts, and puts in clips file. Writer may need those precious, perfect words later, so writer saves them… in case they are the best work writer ever does. Come to think of it. Writer should back up all their work, what with computer running slowly and possible crash coming.

9:05 a.m. – writer can now start real work… after they check on e-mails and Twitter and wishes friends on Facebook happy birthday as that is good marketing. Wait, there are some good industry links writer must read. It is important to keep up on all insider gossip and new how-to tips. Then, of course, must visit blogger friends’ blogs and leave comments so they will in turn leave comments on writer’s blog and writer will have higher hit numbers to show editor that writer has a following. Speaking of following, there are more Twitter tweople to follow and Facebook and MySpace friends to add to prove to editor that writer is fabulously popular among readers. This garners writer bigger print runs.

1:00 p.m. busy morning and writer has worked through lunch! Zounds — makes third pot of coffee. Goes and gets mail forgetting that hair is still on end and pajamas have hole in bum. Neighbor blinks. “I’m on deadline,” writer says and waves. Neighbor looks impressed.

1:15 p.m. – writer receives revision letter from agent/editor. Writer reads it carefully. Thoughtfully considers how agent/editor is completely nuts. Story is perfect. Idiots. Opens file to prove to self that story is perfect. Has entire conversation about how wrong revisions would be. Sets aside letter. Gets up, brushes teeth, gets dressed in old sweats with worn bottoms and baggy tee-shirt. Looks in mirror and congrats self on looking so good considering working so hard.

3:00 p.m. – writer stares at blank page and blinking cursor. Feels very sleepy. Blinking cursor might as well be hypnotist pendulum. Writer gets up and takes much-needed thirty minute power nap so that can write fresh brained.

4:30 p.m. – writer drags self out of bed, wipes drool off face, splashes with water, and curses at the time. Sits down. There are 40 new e-mails in box. Agent reminder that deadline looms. Friends/ relatives wonder why they haven’t heard from writer. Writer sends out e-mail blast about deadline approaching and hard work happening.

5:30 p.m. – writer hears spouse’s car pull into garage. Writer furiously begins work on pages.

5:45 p.m. – admiring spouse kisses writer hello and makes admiring noises about amount of work writer is doing.

6:00 p.m. – spouse brings writer a glass of wine and tells them to take a short break. Spouse has made eatable meal. Writer gets up, stretches and spends time with spouse. After all, you have to have a life, right?

8:00 p.m. – writer returns to computer. Reviews character profiles while computer takes sweet time warming up and getting back to speed. Writer rereads page and a half written so far. Fabulous. Writer writes more keeping in mind agent/editors revision ideas. Sigh.

9:00 p.m. – writer stops writing to do more important marketing and checks e-mails, Twitter, blogs and Facebook.  Jots down two new story ideas and doodles possible publishers. Calls writer friend to verify rumor of publisher looking for new work and other publisher going out of business. Gets more marketing tips.

11:00 p.m. – spouse comes in to kiss hard-working writer good night. Writer rereads day’s work and realizes what they clipped from this morning is better than what they wrote. Copies and pastes saved info over new info. Book still needs 27,000 more words by looming deadline.

11:15 p.m. – writer tweets other writer friends about sad state of business and how long they have been working and how hard the book is to write. Rumor flies that publisher is cutting advances. Writer will have to take on more marketing and editing roles. Writer laments on where they will find the time.

12:00 a.m. – writer swallows last bits of bottle of wine and finishes off one pound bag of peanut M&M’s. Throws darts at cutout photo representing protagonist. Decides that book is sagging. Consults writing book on how to fix sagging middle.

1:00 a.m. – worried spouse drags writer out of office to bed. Writer may or may not shower, sets alarm for 5 a.m., puts on circus pajamas, falls into bed, and dreams solution to sagging middle.

3:00 a.m. – writer is up and holding pen light, scribbles in notepad dream idea for book. Turns off pen light, head on pillow closes eyes and thinks about how glamorous it is to live the writing life.

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6 responses to “A Day in the Life of a Published Author: Nancy J. Parra guest blog

  1. I LOVE the picture of the peanut M&M’s. Thanks for having me on your blog. 🙂 Cheers~

  2. This is awesome – insert a toddler with messy fingers who wants lots of hugs into this and you have my life….sort of.

  3. Yep. Double yep. Love that you can make it sound so funny! Great, great post!

  4. Add in a couple “let dogs out, let dogs in, let dogs out, let dogs in” and you’ve nailed me too! Very funny– I love it!

  5. Thanks, everyone! It was fun to write. 😀
    Joelle, I used to write during nap time. I know that’s what you do.
    Kathleen, thanks! It’s a glamorous life, isn’t it? 😉
    Nikki, I do the dog thing, too- completely forgot that part. I don’t know how. lol
    Thanks, Irene, for having me here. Cheers~

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