One of the most exciting aspects of becoming a full-time author was the idea that finally I would get some work/life balance and be able to enjoy the things I love to do.
MY GREATEST PASSIONS ARE WRITING AND READING.
So, with that in mind, I thought I might run through a typical day in the life of an author – well, this author anyway. You may be surprised to find that we do actually work quite long hours, but of course, it’s not really work when you are doing something that you love and that brings you bliss. There are some downsides to the solitary and sedentary nature of my chosen profession, but more about my ever-expanding rump, later.
The solitary side of things I have managed to take care of in two ways. Firstly, I programme my writing workload to a specific time of day, when the family is not here. It just so happens that most weekdays I am required to jump out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4am and prepare breakfast for either, the one, two, or three, beautiful ladies that make my life worth living. Our two daughters are still studying and as regular readers of my work will know, the traffic in Manila can be diabolical, so leaving early is an absolute must for the two girls, if they are to attend their lectures on time. My darling wife also has to leave very early on many occasions to meet her clients in the city at 9am. Given our location at the northern hub of the mighty, mega-metropolis, that is greater Manila, an early departure is what it takes to get to her appointments on time.
So, that having been said, I’m often alone in the house by around 6am and it is time to start work. I try to focus on my “job” i.e. writing, promoting and networking, from then until midday. After lunch, well, I’ll be honest and admit to having a bit of a siesta. Now, the Philippines may have been colonised by Spain, but they brought their idea of a noonday siesta with them, from Mexico, no doubt. All I can say is what a brilliant idea that was! Although the outside temperature rarely rises too much above the mid-thirty degrees Celsius, I can assure you that in our little concrete oven that we live in, the inside temperature can often top the mid forties. It is damn hot mist of the time and, in the afternoon it is damn, damn, hot! Little Grant, will repair to the bedroom, turn on the air-conditioning and revel in the beauty of a temperature controlled twenty-five degrees. The irony here is that when I was back in New Zealand, I would probably have called twenty-five degrees, stiflingly hot, but here, it is just a wonderfully welcome relief. Funny that! The body adapts, I guess.
After my “nana nap” it’s time to get the endorphins pumping and try to keep the previously mentioned corpulent rear-end under control. Out comes my torture chamber, as I like to call it. I unfold my magnificent rowing machine and spend 30-45 minutes, dripping sweat all over the show, five afternoons a week. I’m not kidding, it is torture but as much as I despise the process, I do understand it needs to be done, especially as I march relentlessly toward my sixties. Given, I live in a tropical climate and don’t get out a lot, my usual daily dress is just a pair of basketball shorts and a sando (singlet), so the rowing ensures that on the very odd occasion when I do have to get...
...fighting fit and full of energy I then attack my Social Media duties for the afternoon. People often ask me why I use Social Media so much. My answer is quite simple: For me, the idea of “building my brand” is secondary to the true benefit – I enjoy the interaction. It helps to counter the isolation and loneliness of the solitary writer. I can well understand how many writers in the past suffered from mental issues, alcoholism or drug-dependency. The path I have chosen can be very unforgiving at times. It’s a tough and cruel world, the world of publishing and even more so, self-publishing. One of things that maintains my sanity, is being able to reach out to like-minded people and remind myself that I’m not facing these self-doubts, these rejections and these depressing sales statistics on my own. We all have them and we can support each other. The other up-side of Social Media is I get to meet some incredibly talented and SUCCESSFUL self-published authors. They can be a great source of inspiration for me, especially when things look hard and unachievable. Some of my closest friends and confidantes are people I have never met face-to-face and yet, I am so grateful for the place they play in my life. Yes, there are some ***holes out there in the self-publishing world, but in my experience there are way more genuine, caring, helpful and wonderful souls to connect with. For the solitary writer, I say, thank God for Social Media. I’d be lost without it.
The rest of my “work day” is spent reading. I love reading independent authors. They are so fresh, innovative and incredibly talented. They also fill me with new ideas for my own work.
So, there we have it, the exciting life of this author. If I tot up the hours I now spend “working” compared to when I had a corporate job, I have no doubt they would be far in excess of those I put in, in the office. The difference is, I NOW LOVE WHAT I DO and who knows, I might even be good at it.
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