Thank you for submitting your questions. Kary asked a few in a comment on the last post, and while I can’t answer them all in one go, I can answer this one: “would you describe both a typical day and typical week in your freelance writing life? I also get that there may be no typical day/week, but I find these day in the life/week in the life both fascinating and informative.”
She’s right in that no day is the same, which I think is more than fine. One of the best things about being a freelancer is the flexibility. But I do generally have what I think of as assigned blocks of time, which keeps me in line, and on track to reach my goals.
Please note that I have always been a morning person. In graduate school, for example, I’d go to my part-time job early to work on my reading and assignments, and then start my workday. I don’t think I could force myself to be a night owl. I doubt it’s easy to switch to my hours either. Also, I don’t use any time trackers or apps or anything like that. I’ve found they stress me out too much, and added nothing to the overall quality of my work.
Anyway, here’s a typical winter day:
- Wake between 6:30am and 7am: Walk, water and feed the dog. Breakfast.
- Review to-do list, write until about 10:30am.
- Go for a run.
- Noon: Walk, water the dog again. Lunch.
- From 1pm to 4pm: Conduct interviews, set up calls, send marketing emails, sort through my email.
- Stop work around 4pm. Write the to-do list for the next day. Walk, water and feed the dog. Maybe start thinking about what to cook for dinner.
The reason it’s different in summer is because of the running. When it’s hot and I want to run outside instead of on the treadmill, I’ll get up around 5:30am so I can run first, then write. If you think I’m torturing myself by setting an early alarm, I don’t often, or I get up before the time I set. My body shifts to wake up with the sun. Lucky me, I know.
Of course this isn’t every day. If I don’t have calls to do in an afternoon, I might take a nap or go to the movies. I try to schedule doctor’s appointments for the first appointment of the day, which of course takes up some writing time. If I’m stuck on a few deadlines, I might also write in the afternoon. I tend to do stuff like sign and scan contracts, follow up on late payments, or check to see why an editor has ghosted me, in gaps of time when I need a brain break.
I’m also working on where best to squeeze in novel writing. I shoot for an hour every day, though I’m more likely to write in half hour chunks, and I might only get one chunk done (still, I’m now at 28,000 words, so something’s working!) I try not to schedule anything on Friday afternoons, though when new episodes of For All Mankind were dropping on Thursday nights, I cleared my early Friday morning schedule to watch them. And on Wednesdays, when I have the day off of running, I usually do my nails in the morning, though yesterday I took some time to take Bonnie the Button to Avalon.
I tell new freelancers that it’s going to take some time to settle into what works for you, and no one schedule is going to be the same as another’s. But as long as it allows you to get your work done without tipping to the wrong side of the world/life balance you hope to achieve, then that’s gold.
“How to attract workers to far flung job sites” for Construction Dive
“Implementing molecular testing for gastrointestinal infections in clinical practice” for Clinical Laboratory News
“Decoding bacteria to disrupt the practice of microbiology” for Clinical Laboratory News
“Into the next era: Building on a legacy of confronting challenges” for Mines Magazine
What I’m Reading
- A Remarkable Rogue by Anna Harrington. Long time readers know I love a good regency romance, which is why I gave this new-to-me author a spin. Not bad! I will happily read more.
- The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. I found this in a Little Free Library, and started it without knowing a thing about the book, and I’m glad I did. I won’t say much about it in case you want to experience it in the same way, but it says a lot about the surveillance state, AI, robotics, and judgement of mothers, all in one work.
Nail Polish of the Week
Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI. One of OPI’s top selling colors. It’s black with a slight brown hue that OPI listed as an anti-Valentine’s Day color on their Instagram. That’s not why I picked it, though. I almost went with Wrapped in Luxury by Essie, but I wore enough reds for the Phillies’ playoff run, and Christmas, that I’m all set on that color family for right now. Pretty soon it’ll be spring (!) and time to put away the dark polishes, so might as well break one out now.
Until next time,
Jen A. Miller
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