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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Day In The Life of Shawn James, Freelance Writer

A day in the life of Shawn James, Freelance writer

When most people think of a writers, they think of people who sleep in till the afternoon and start their work whenever. That’s not the case for me. While I don’t have a 9-t0-5 routine like most people who work in an office do, I’m very productive throughout the day. No two days are alike for me, and some days working free-lance can be just as hectic as working in an office.

I’ll try to break down a regular day for me:

6:30 AM get up wash up, shave and get dressed.

7:05 go out and do some errands. Pick up groceries, go to the Bronx GPO and mail review copies, etc.

7:45 AM Turn on laptop, review e-mails, check out a few of my favorite comic strips and webcomic strips: Luann, Questionable Content, Something*Positive, Girls WithSlingshots, Laugh. Get to work.

7:49 Check the blog stats to see what articles are being read. Ponder what articles to write based on the stats. I don’t want to write something that won’t be read. Blogs that get few hits don’t get a follow up article.

7:55 AM Check out KDP. See what books are selling on the kindle.
7:59 AM Check out pubit! See what eBooks are selling on the Nook.
8:03 AM Check out Smashwords. Seee what eBooks are selling on Smashwords.
8:05 AM Check out Lightning Source. See what paperbacks are selling.
8:07 AM Check out Amazon Author Central. See if any titles are selling there.

8:15 AM After reading the stats, I ponder what eBooks will go free on KDP Select on Saturdays. Offering Free eBooks on Saturday has led to readers buying eBooks on the weekdays, so I try to have a couple of titles available for readers to choose from each weekend. The Variety leads to people trying something new, and if they like it, they may buy another. If I’m lucky, they might buy a paperback.

8:20 AM Ponder what eBooks need to be modified. If an eBook isn’t selling I’ll bring the price down. If it still isn’t selling after a few months, I’ll think about making it KDP Select exclusive. Or like most publishers, I’ll just remove it from circulation.

8:30AM- 12:00 PM get breakfast and research facts. For the blog, this may involve going to YouTube or reading up on some subjects on a website. In the case of a novel it may involve me going to a location. In others it may involve me going to the library. It depends.

For the Gourmet Supermarkets article I traveled to most of the gourmet supermarkets in NYC during this time.

In this time I’ll also promote books and eBooks on Social Media like Twitter and Facebook, and network with clients.

To take a break from the monotony, I’ll post on a message board like Superherohype, IMDB,The Fwoosh or comment on another blog like Jim Shooter. Or I’ll cybershop.

1:00-3:00 PM Read last night’s writing and do revisions. This can vary. On some days I’m writing articles or story chapters, but in most cases I’m doing revisions. These revisions are usually done to while I listen to MP3s or I’ll watch a movie on This TV or Classic shows on Antenna to get a break from the monotony of the words on the screen.

3:00-5:00 PM Dinner. Sometimes I’ll run an errand around this time too.

5:00-7:00 PM Break. Sometimes I’ll take a nap and brainstorm ideas for the next chapter or the next blog. A body needs rest.

8:00-10:00 PM Writing. I’ll try to write 1500 words in this time. A blog, or a chapter for a novel. Lately I’ve been doing more fiction to warm myself up. I’m working my way towards another novel and I want to get back to top form when I do write it. No writer writes 80,000-100,000 words without prep. Short stories get a writer in the creative place to do longer works.

10:00-11:00 PM Check e-mails, Check book stats again and do more research. Promote books and eBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

12:00PM -1:45 AM. Do more writing. Usually it’s about this time I wind up on a roll. I have to force myself to stop because I need to be fresh in the morning.

1:45 AM bedtime.

This schedule usually runs from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday I may start a little later, but the routine is the same. And it gets even crazier if I’m launching a new paperback or an eBook.

Since 2008, I’ve been working hard to build a reputation and an audience as a writer. So when people say writers are lazy, it annoys me. I may not have a clock to punch in or a schedule I’m assigned but I do have a routine of tasks I have to complete in a day. 

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating and interesting. Shawn. I started to pass this one up, thinking how much does one writer need to know about another. A helpful lot. So much so that I made and am keeping a copy.

    We know, or we ought to, that discipline works with anything we try to do. I got useful tips with this on making better use of my time. Long, long out of childhood, I'm still a dawdler and a dreamer. I act out all my scenes and that takes time.

    But I'm posting this on my office wall and I'm already using parts of it.

    Two brains are better than one, so keep us posted with more of these blogs on your life as a writer. After all, I have the distinct feeling that one day we'll be singing your praises on a larger screen and congratulating ourselves on supporting you as you were getting there:)