Welcome to our first official “Day in the Life of an Indie Author” post. Last month, I gave you an introduction and shared why I chose the Indie path and what some of my roles are. Now it’s time to dive in and let you guys behind the scenes.
As is often the case with these things, a theme emerged during the past month. That theme was “flexibility.” While that could be the focus every month, if we’re being honest, it became especially important this month when our air conditioning went out.
Nothing Says “Flexibility” Like the Heat’s Melting Power
If you don’t have the pleasure of living in southeast Louisiana, allow me to share a little about the weather here. In July and August, the sun overheats. When it does this, it bends down over the southern United States, and all its sweat trickles down into the atmosphere where it hangs like a moist molten lava shroud that we breathe choke in. The drops that get through land on the concrete and asphalt and, after sizzling, rise up as steam that’s as thick and powerful as the largest anaconda you can envision. It then wraps its way up around us and squeezes that choking air back out.
Aside from the heat, it’s really quite lovely. You should come visit!
Now that you have a better understanding of our temperatures, let’s get back to the story at hand. No air conditioning. I realize this is such a selfish first–world problem. I also understand that it hasn’t been all that many decades ago when there was no such thing as AC here. But, I’m willing to admit I’m a big, fat wimp. It was HOT! We looked like a family of Lumières—you know, the candelabra from Beauty and the Beast?—our faces were literally dripping off. (Unfortunately, no wrinkles were lost in the process.)
As you can probably imagine, dripping face + keyboard ≠ productive workflow (or a happy keyboard). Thankfully we were able to stay with my in-laws, whose air worked just fine. On the flip side, though, they have no Wi–Fi. So, what’s a girl with a weekly blog and podcast, daily social media presence and a book in the process of being uploaded to distribution channels to do? Be flexible!
Flexibility Doesn’t Come Naturally
I wish I could tell you flexibility was no big deal and that I’m great at it; that I’m breezy and flowy and easily adapt to every change in schedule. No, friends. I love schedules and consistency and blocks of time and knowing what a day will hold before it begins.
Alas! I married a man who’s never worked an 8-to-5 job (he has had multiple crazy-hour jobs at once, though). I have worked as a freelancer for twelve years now and have two kids and a menagerie of animals to boot. I also live in a place where we frequently lose power (like, at least once or twice a week and usually when I’m under the gun to get a task completed) and in a house where we desperately need a new air conditioning unit. Looking at my desired schedule is like gazing in the window at Tiffany’s. It looks lovely and shines brightly, but that gorgeous tiny blue bag may as well be on Mars for all the chance I have of reaching one.
So, when the cool air went the way of the dodo bird, I prioritized. What’s got to get done? What do I have to do on my computer at home? What can I do on my laptop without Wi–Fi? What can I accomplish without any modern tools?
I whipped through tasks online while my sweat sweated at my house and then headed to cooler quarters for everything else. It all got done, and we were able to patch up our limping unit again—hopefully until next spring. Fingers crossed!
Juggling Various Tasks Calls for Daily Flexibility
While that was an extreme example of the need for flexibility in my job as an Indie Author, every day requires some improvisation. This past month, I finished formatting and uploading all the files for my novel, edited a client’s manuscript and completed another client’s job, worked on revisions for a nonfiction book I co-wrote, started preparing some marketing plans for the novel and contacted many booksellers and reviewers. On top of those things, I did my first interview with a local news outlet and kept up with weekly blogging and podcasts and newsletters and all the other daily communication that comes with the job. My kids haven’t starved or completely run out of clothes (despite my daughter’s dramatic groans of nothing to wear), and I managed to clean out my incredibly junky bedroom. Good news! We still have a floor in there!
Presenting: A Typical Day of Flexibility
But, Joy, what about a DAY in your life? Isn’t that supposed to be the subject of this long-winded post? What does an actual DAY look like for you?
Never fear! I’m going to give you a moment-by-moment recap of one of my days this past month. Ready? Here’s how my day went on July 18:
- Started uploading raw podcast episodes to OneDrive to make more space on my external hard drive (in case you’re wondering, that takes a while because those files are HUGE!)
- Checked emails
- Updated this log
- Perused the Realm Makers site—longed to be there (Can you tell I’m procrasti-surfing?)
- Commented with a link to my monthly short story on the #BlogBattle site
- Sniffed the pork cooking low and slow in the oven
- Counted the minutes until supper time
- Cast myself into the pits of despair [Whether this was over the time until supper, not being at Realm Makers or something else entirely, I cannot recall.]
- Tried to find an e–book that vanished from my Kindle [By the way, I discovered a whole bunch of hidden folders a couple weeks later; so, if you’re having issues with books disappearing on your Kindle, I can help!]
- Discovered Ann Patchett will be at the MS Book Festival; texted Mea Smith (actual word used was “Gamechanger!”); perused Ann Patchett’s Goodreads page and re-read my review of Bel Canto
- Got an email from a client needing an image correction; handled that; sent an invoice
- Reviewed our podcast outlines and looked over our nonfiction work-in-progress
- Read through a speaker application again and thought about some potential topic proposals to help us stand out
- Updated the “Tales of the Faerie Shepherds” page on my website and started updating my home page
- Received frantic emails from a client; found all was well; calmed client
- Kids got their own lunch—isn’t that nice? Maybe they’re maturing after all!
- Cleaned spaghetti sauce from all over the kitchen floor, the stove and the cabinet doors
- Lost my cool
- Received more frantic client emails (FYI: browser refresh works wonders!)
- Pulled apart the pork shoulder for tonight’s sandwiches—and sampled as I worked
- More home page updates (previously interrupted mid-word by the sauce fiasco)
- Third cup of coffee and a bag of CHEETOS®—see, I eat
- Completed the website updates I’d planned for today, plus a few more!
- Talked to my sister on the phone
- Got a shower—finally
- More site updates
- Prepped supper
- Dried hair
- Finished prepping supper; waited for Tony to finish his phone conversation
- Updated my to-do list—finished today’s and planned an update to tomorrow’s
- Poured wine
- Ate supper
- Family devotions
- Did hair/makeup
- Straightened up and set up equipment; opened Skype
- Checked emails
- Podcast time! Recorded three episodes; planned speaking submission and book festival; discussed book revisions, marketing and further details
- Headed to bed around 1:30/2; read 70 pages until I finally got tired enough to sleep
And that, my friends, is a rather typical Day in the Life of This Indie Author!
What questions do you have about this crazy business of mine? What would you like to know about the life of an author? Are you excited about this series?
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