So today I have another amazing tour for you and a great guest post. Also at the bottom of this post there is a great giveaway for you to enter. It's for an amazon gift card.
The Life of a Writer
I have been an avid reader since childhood. I don’t know that I ever thought I would be “a writer” myself, although I think everyone daydreams about that at some point in their life. But if I thought about it, I assumed that writing was a glamorous profession. My mom was a painter, and I knew that wasn’t as exciting as it seemed, but, not knowing any writers, I figured they traveled all over the world doing research, sat in well appointed offices typing away, had staff (to do what, I don’t know), and were celebrities.
Well, I now know that basically none of this is true… And I love being a writer anyway! I have done a lot of traveling, but none for research for books. I’ve used those travels in my writing, years or even decades after the trip, but traveling for research isn’t a clear cut tax deduction so most of us don’t do it. Thank God for the internet!
My desk is a high painters table with no drawers. The top wiggles if you lean on it, because it’s made to swivel to any angle you want for painting watercolors. My chair is a black, nondescript office chair from Staples. I have an OTT-Lite, which is a natural light bulb thing, and a generic bulletin board, and a lovely chair and ottoman where I sit and write when the desk gets old. My closet is a mess, and all the printers are downstairs in my husband’s office. I do have a tv and an Apple TV device, but since I need it quiet when I write, those don’t get used much.
I definitely don’t have staff. I need staff, but not to help with writing. I need people who would cook and clean while I write. I had visions of a “girl Friday” running here and there looking things up for me and doing all the many writerly errands (I’m not sure what I thought those were, maybe getting typewriter ribbons?). What I have is a 16 year old son who conveniently works at a grocery store and a husband who will print stuff off if I email it to him. That’s about it – the pets just sleep all the time, although I guess that adds ambience to my office.
Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I absolutely don’t want to be a celebrity. Not that I’m in danger of it, but should the opportunity arise I don’t think I’d take it. I don’t want to be stalked by paparazzi, have my every action scrutinized, and have my family life disrupted. I would hate to go to a restaurant and be interrupted every five minutes by people wanting… well, whatever they want from celebrities. As I said, there’s not exactly an imminent danger of this ever happening, but at least I have declared my intention to stay anonymous.
So what is the real life of a writer like? I would guess as varied as the stories they write. Mine is pretty simple, really.
I wake up pretty early, but, since I’m not a morning person as far as actually being functional when I get up, I have coffee, journal, read, check out Facebook and the news, and generally putz around until 9:00. During the morning, I edit. I always have a work in progress, so I spend a couple of hours on it before lunch.
I try to get to the gym in the morning, either at 9:00, before editing, or at about 11:30 before the lunch crowd gets there. If I don’t do it in the morning, I may not get there, because I suffer from chronic migraines and they tend to crop up in the afternoon if they’re coming. Either way, I take about an hour and a half for lunch, eating, reading, watching something recorded on the DVR, or doing errands. This is to clear my head of editing mode.
After lunch, I get to writing. My daily word count goal when I’m working on a novel is 3000 words a day (about 1200-1500 when working on a non-fiction), and I work until I get to the goal. Because I write fast, unless I have to do a lot of research during the writing (which sometimes happens because my books have a lot of history and geography in them), I’m usually done in two hours or less.
Generally, I do all my promotional stuff in one day, rather than a little at a time. I try to keep things scheduled six weeks to two months out, but if I’m done writing and have time before my work day ends, I’ll check out the promotions and see how things are going, see if I want to add anything, go to the writers forums I belong to and get ideas. This is also when I update my Quickbooks accounts with any income or expenditures.
And by 5:30, I try to be done. I cook dinner most nights, so I get on that, or take a walk, or just hang out with my family. Before I had this set schedule, I’d end up working nights and weekends, and I didn’t like that I never had down time. Now that I’ve got this loose schedule, I’m a lot more productive, and everyone is a lot happier that I don’t disappear right after dinner with my laptop.
That’s really about it. I’ve got a couple of months left as a homeschool mom before my son and youngest child graduates from high school, but he’s pretty independent at this point. I help my husband with research for his books; I travel for my non-profit in Uganda; I have coffee with writing friends (and other friends). It’s not very exciting… Until I hold a newly released book in my hands and I can’t shake the grin off of my face. Then, yes, it’s pretty glamorous!
The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. The aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There's no way home.
Born and raised in Rockledge, Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories. Jennings attended the University of the South and the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of script doctoring, business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit to Uganda. Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She's written four novels and a screenplay in less than a year, with more ideas on the drawing board. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a writer, and two children, and travels extensively.