I'm often asked what I do all day, as if as a writer I couldn't possibly fill enough hours to call a five-day span a "work week." Of course, then, in the next breath, I hear "How do you do everything you do?" Sometimes I wish the two rules of thumb about my work life would join forces and give me a little credit/take away a little credit.
Do I work a lot? Yes. And I love it. (Most of the time.)
Do I get to make my own hours? Yes. (Both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I don't know when to quit.)
This past week I started keeping up with a few of my tasks--and the hats I wear while doing them. So if you really want to know ...
#1: The writer hat. I'm working on a Christmas novella right now, my first after God Bless Us Every One. It's not under contract, but I'm hoping it will be soon. And I'm terribly, terribly excited about it. I'm writing in a somewhat different way; I'm telling the story of a marriage from various points in the marriage, taking the reader from the present, to the past, forward again, back again ... an editor friend said it reminds her of This Is Us. (YES!) I'm not sure how many words I wrote this week, but, for sure, several thousand.
I'm also working on the final draft edits for THE FINAL RACE, which is the story of Eric Liddell. I am the "with" author (along with Eric Eichinger, the author). As I worked on the edits from Tyndale editor, Jonathan Schindler, Eric E. and I had a few conversations, I had to do a little more research, etc. All in all, this book is going to be amazing!
#2. Private Writing Coach Hat. I'm only working with one coaching client right now (the way I prefer it). She's an amazing writer! I spent time working with her this week, including our time on Google Hangouts where we talked about tightening some of the work, expanding some of the work, and how happy I was with what she'd done with Chapter Three since last week. That was due, in part, to my having suggested she meet with Tina Yeager who is a LMHT and who could give her insight into a character's response to PTSD after abuse.
#3: Freelance Editor Hat. Speaking of Tina ... I'm working on a work of nonfiction by this amazing writer. She's worried that it runs down a rabbit trail or two ... and it may from time to time, but that's one amazing rabbit. Sometimes while editing her work, I bring my hand to my chest and remind myself to breathe. Her work is that poignant.
On that note, I received several requests this week asking me how much I charge to "edit my book." That's too vague a question for me to answer. I charge by the hour; the more work you do in the self-editing portion of your book, the easier my work. Thus, the less time it takes.
#4: Managing Editor for Firefly Southern Fiction Hat: I have a nice, sweet stack of "to be reads" in my file. These are the proposals sent to me after conferences. I have to be in the right frame of mind when I read them, otherwise I'd either say "yes" to them all (which would be a disaster) or "no" to them all (which would be a disaster. I have to totally trust God in this endeavor. I have to be quiet enough to listen to His whisper-soft voice telling me whether we are the right house for this author or if He has something else in mind. That's not always easy.
#5: Contest Judge and Judge Overseer Hat: The Georgia Peach Awards will be handed out at a Word Weavers event next month and I am one-part judge and two-parts overseer of the judges. If I've learned anything from judging and overseeing it's this: some authors are ready for contests, some are not, and some are ready with their work but not ready when it comes to how to send it. For example, why would you include Track Changes from a previous edit or from an accountability partner? Why would you not make sure all your words are spelled correctly? I can overlook the occasional typo, but when a work is filled with them, I find that my mind has left the work and is now focused on the mistakes.
#6: Word Weavers President Hat: As president of Word Weavers International, I spend the first of every month going over the month's new members, those who have lapsed in membership, entering membership dues, writing checks, following up on emails, etc. One of the most important things I do, I believe, is my constant search for educational tools for our members, which has reached nearly 600. I also had some tax questions that needed answering this week, so I notified our CPA and also talked with Mark Hancock, our vice president.
#7: Student Hat. Yes, I'm still in school. Nearly done with another degree ... hanging in there. I'm currently taking a class on the book of Hebrews.
#8: Reading Hat: I'm currently reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan ... and loving it. He has a set of videos that go with the chapters; I'm enjoying those as well. For fiction, I'm enjoying Tessa Afshar's "In the Field of Grace." Wonderful retelling of the story of Ruth and Boaz.
#9: Private Life Hat: Huggy Hubby and I watched LION this week (mostly on Friday). I cannot say enough about this movie.
There you have it. A portion of my week. So ... what do you all week?