I often get asked to write or talk about the ‘day in the life of....’ I’m an early bird and am usually working from 6am, so be it on my laptop in the living room. If I’m not writing, I will be catching up on social media, or even reading a book for pleasure. I enjoy fiction but I also read lots of non-fiction books, especially inspirational or business subjects. Then I take 30 mins exercise, which consists of a gentle jog on a cross trainer. Maybe a few hand weights. I do this four times a week – I have a dodgy hip and sitting for long periods means it gets really stiff and painful.
After that, it’s breakfast, a quick check online for emails before switching off to write. I find if I don’t limit myself to social media, I can lose a day quicker than you say ‘log out of Facebook right now.’
The rest of the day can be spent in many ways. Here are a few of them. Firstly I need to know what hat I’ll be wearing. As a hybrid author, someone who self-publishes alongside working with a publisher, I’m usually working on two projects at the same time. That’s not on the same day, sometimes not even during the same week, but I always have two on the go. So when one is finished with for a while, I go straight to the other.
For example, when I am drafting out a book, once I have it planned I tend to write quick first drafts. I write three drafts before showing anyone. So I will write about 2000 words per day for a month, or until I run out of steam for that round, which is usually around 50,000 words. The next step for me is to hone those words into some sort of order, figure out the missing pieces to the jigsaw and add them in. When I am doing this, my day will be completely editing and nothing else. I tend to do this over a two-week period, letting other work pile up until I’m done. I do this twice before it goes to my editor, and usually the end project is about 80,000 words. It’s the same when I do line edits and copy edits – head down doing nothing but every day for a fortnight.
While that is with my editor, I will then start to work on my own projects. This can often mean the same procedure is taking place with me and another editor. I do a lot of project management to ensure nothing runs over, or if it does, it doesn’t affect anything long term.
When I’m not editing or writing a book, my days can be much different. They are filled with admin duties such as writing and replying to emails, writing blog posts, sharing my work on social media, letting people know I have a new book out, for instance, or how far along I am with the next one. I have a great tribe of fans now who I talk to routinely and I also send regular newsletters.
Then it could be all about plotting the next book… so I might be researching. I may be attending a conference or speaking at an event. I might be heading to London to meet up with my agent or my publisher, often both. I might be chatting to someone on Skype, being interviewed for a podcast. My days are really full! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, how many people get paid to lie for a living?
Mel Sherratt’s new novel Hush Hush is available now on all platforms.
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