“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
Hello there, you beautiful person you.
Last week I gave a little insight as to what it was like when I quit my job. This week, as I mentioned, I am going to talk a little about what I do.
I could easily rattle off my general routine, but that would hardly be exciting. Instead, I thought I would address the three biggest misconceptions people had when I announced I was leaving my job which will, in turn, give you an idea of what my days look like. I’ll also address my number one [immediate] concern for this new life of mine and how I plan on combating it.
This is the number one thing people use to congratulate me on my departure from my 9-5. Oooh! Just think, you’ll get to sleep late everyday and stay in your pajamas!
Could I? Maybe. Do I? Oh, honey…no.
Let me tell you what I do most mornings before 8:00 a.m.:
—5:00, my alarm goes off.
—5:30, morning walk
—6:15, breakfast, check emails, social media
—7:00, make husband’s lunch, clean kitchen
—7:40, take out trash, clean out car*
—8:00, pick up grocery order*
*Cleaning out my car, Starbucks, and groceries is usually only on Mondays. Otherwise, I start writing as soon as hubby’s lunch is ready and I’ve straightened the kitchen.
For me, even when I permit myself to sleep late, I’m up by 7:00. I far prefer to go to bed early and wake early than to go to bed late and sleep late. Perhaps that’s breaking some rule for writers…but I try to break rules when I can.
As for staying in my pajamas…I can’t say I haven’t done this a time or two. However, I will say that the days I’ve done that, I have felt pretty crummy. I tend to make more excuses those days and I far prefer to still get dressed and groomed.
Float Through Life
I’ll admit that I am nervous about not being held to structure. I like structure. I was raised by a drill sergeant. I could do hospital corners when I was five. I have to redo the hospital corners when Dad is in the hospital because the hospital doesn’t do hospital corners to his standards. So, structure is important to me.
But people seemed to think that when I left my job I’d just sort of…float. And it seems the consensus would be I’d want to live that way. My days would all run into one another and I’d forget what day it was and I’d miss appointments and time would just cease to have all meaning.
That may be fine for some people, but that’s not for me.
When I was working, I kept a calendar and I had to tightly schedule my days. So, I do a version of that right now, even though my days are not nearly as packed as my working”days. And let me tell you something I’ve found: I feel more productive now than I did when I was gainfully employed.
There’s a huge difference in being busy and being productive.
I’ve devised a system where each day I assign myself three non-negotiables and I write them down in my planner and I check them off as I get them accomplished. I may have more than these three tasks, but I know I have to do those three things for me to feel I’ve not wasted my day. I also record my word count for the day so I can make sure I’m on track to finish when I want to finish. This planner gives me places to record when I exercise (which is super important to me now so I don’t become a total couch potato!), it gives me places to reflect on life, and encourages positive thoughts.
That said, there are some growing pains for me with this. I am not used to keeping a physical planner. My work calendar was kept in MS Outlook. I have considered using Google Calendar…and I may do that in conjunction with my physical planner…but I love using the pretty stickers. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
One of the most frustrating things for me has been the assumption that I’d finish Harlot within weeks of quitting my job and the next one soon thereafter.
It’s still going to take me some time to publish. I really enjoy writing historical novels, but they are typically close to 100k words, whereas my contemporary novels were roughly 80k each. They take far more research than what I had to do for SLT and SLF. I still have to edit and revise.
I still have all the publishing hats to wear.
Generally, I start writing around 7:30 every morning, and aside from a couple of bathroom, coffee, and water breaks, I write until about 12:30 when I break for lunch. Then, after lunch, if I haven’t met my word count goal for the day, I continue with my fiction. Otherwise, I work on my website, the blog, researching marketing outlets. My covers. A ton of other author duties that aren’t nearly as sexy as the writing itself. (I also have things like laundry, meal planning, dusting, and dishes to tend to. Doggies to care for and entertain. It’s a barrel of laughs around here.)
But even with all that, I am writing faster. Much, much faster than I was when I worked. I average 2-3k words per day, whereas I would maybe write close to that every week or so and some weeks I couldn’t write anything at all.
It is my hope to go from publishing one book per year to publishing two. Maybe some day I’ll publish three per year. But I didn’t quit so I could sacrifice quality for quantity. I think SLF was better-written than SLT. I think Alabama Rain was exponentially better than SLF, and I hope Harlot will continue that trend.
My goal is to finish with Harlot by September and put her up for preorder with an October release.
And now for what concerns me most about quitting…
Except for the time I spend at my parents’ house, I have already found I spend far too much time at home. Now, Mondays I do get out for our groceries, but since I order our groceries for pick up either through Walmart or Lowe’s Foods, I don’t even have to get out and shop. (I do this mostly for budget reasons but also to afford myself more writing time.)
Staying home too much, which may sound impossible, can have many negative impacts:
—Decrease in serotonin levels, resulting in depression.
—Cabin fever is real. Staying in too much can exacerbate anxiety.
—Circadian interuptus. I’ve already discovered my sleep patterns are off, and one’s circadian rhythm can also affect appetite.
—Vitamin D deficiency.
I don’t get super excited at the thought of hauling my laptop to a coffee shop and sitting there for hours as I write, nor do I relish the idea of being interrupted when I’m in the zone. But, I emphatically believe I have to get out of my house and, dare I say it, be around people…and I need to be able to write when I do so.
I may go to a coffee shop, perhaps the library. Maybe I’ll find myself in a local park when the weather cools off. But I can’t sit in here all day, everyday.
Truthfully, I think doing so would cause my writing to suffer.
The morning this blog post goes live will also be my first official day back in the gym. Obviously getting to the gym 4-5 days a week will tick off a few boxes for me. We’ll be going early enough we’ll still get home before the sun comes up, but it’ll get me going and there’s something about the treadmill and elliptical that gives me story ideas. Anyway, wish me luck! ♥
That’s all I’ve got for you today, friends—but if you’d like to get together before my post next week, follow me on Twitter and Instagram! I’m trying to train myself to be more active on IG and would love, love, love to see you there! xoxo
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