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A Day in the Life of an Indie Author

So what’s it like to be a self published, indie author? What does a day in the life of one look like? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can certainly give you some idea of what my average day looks like. I have a feeling a lot of other indie authors have similar structures to their days while still others definitely do not.

My spouse and I are ‘currently’ empty-nesters. My son and his fiance have their own place over an hour away from us. We, at this moment, have no other relatives living with us – though that has the potential to change…frequently. It’s a family thing. On normal days, Monday through Friday, my wife gets up about 6:00 and is out the door by 6:30 or so for a full day of work. Once that door closes, my day as an indie author begins…sort of.

I typically start off by getting the dogs up and running them outside and then getting them fed. We have two dogs, a pug and a small breed mutt. This isn’t wasted time. The two of them bring me great joy and some of my best ideas come while I’m tending to them or catching a breath of air with them.

Once we’re back in and they’re settled noses in their bowls, I get cleaned up, dressed, grab something to eat and then I sit down in front of the keyboard – generally by 7:00 AM. I spend the next hour reading and answering email, updating social networks and sites like Goodreads and Shelfari. One of the keys to being successful as a self-published author is self-promotion and building relationships. If I don’t do it, no one is going to do it for me.

8:00 – I get the writing juices flowing with a little non-fiction by answering a couple of questions for a Q&A site. Sometimes I make a little bit of money but most of the time it’s just for the satisfaction of being able to help someone and because it keeps my research abilities sharp.

8:30 – I run the dogs back outside if they need to go then gather up my stuff and I head to work at my part-time, Monday through Saturday day job. My writing is a joy and I do earn from it but it doesn’t support me…yet.

9:00 – Open for business and hard at work.

10:30 to 11:00 AM – Generally by this time I’m done with the bulk of my morning duties and my reporting at work and the rest of the shift I wait on customers that come in. In between them I scribble out plot points, dream up character names, work on dialog, etc. I can sometimes even bang out 800-1500 words on my tablet but that all depends on how busy I am with customers.

1:20 PM – I get home and run the dogs out and then grab a quick bite while I figure out dinner for later.

Every other week at this time, after running the dogs out, I pick up and watch my toddler nephew Monday through Wednesday while his mother works. No writing gets done at this time. He’s 17 months old and a ball of fire. He takes all of my attention and I love it. When I’m not caring for him, here’s the schedule:

1:30-2:00 PM – Catching up with email and requests for info, interviews, etc.

2:00-2:30 PM – A couple of days a week, I spend this time working on posts for this blog. The other days, I dive right into whatever my current fiction writing project is. I do some editing on anything that I wrote the day before or that same day while I was at work. I make additions and corrections from what I came up with at work that I just scribbled out if I had no time to write there.

2:30-3:45 PM – I write like a fiend. Sometimes, when things are flowing, I can get 1500 words or more out during this time.

At 3:45 PM – if I’m doing something more labor intensive like grilling, I start dinner and focus mainly on that. If I put something in the crock pot in the morning or if I’m doing something that bakes in the oven, I continue to do a little writing while I cook.

4:30 PM – My spouse is generally arriving at home. We finish putting dinner together and we sit down to eat typically by 5:00 PM.

5:00 to 7:00 or 8:00 PM (fall-spring) – this is family/work time and it isn’t typically negotiable. Often times we’re doing yard work, working on something within the house, visiting, or off running errands. In the summertime, when the days are longer and warmer, this time can extend past 9:00 PM.

8:00-10:00 PM, Monday-Friday most of the time: socializing with spouse and sometimes other family. When it’s just my spouse and I, I usually sit with a laptop and check email, work on this blog and do a little research on ideas I have to incorporate into my novels or do some fact checking follow up from the places my characters took me in my earlier in the day writing activities.

10:00-11:00 PM – To bed – sometimes with a tablet – where I read for a bit before going to sleep. Any author must read for pleasure and feed their mind for their craft. I also read at night though to study marketing and self publishing and all of the things that go along with being a self published indie author.

Weekends, of course, vary drastically from this schedule except that I do work at my ‘day job’ on Saturdays but that’s for less than 3 hours instead of 4.5. Sometimes I get some writing in but, if I do, it’s usually only on this blog. On rare occasions I might get an hour or two to work on my other writing projects.

That’s my usual schedule. Weekdays, I can typically work in 3-4 hours of writing including the Q&A site, this blog and my fiction books. It’s not unusual to write 3000 words or more per day total with roughly half of that or more on a novel.

What’s your typical day look like as an indie author? I’d love to hear your personal story.