A Day in the Life...
People sometimes ask me what a typical day is like for a children's book author. Almost any author will tell you--there are no typical days. But the more projects I have (past, present, and future), the less time I have for writing. Here's how it went today:
7:00 Wake up, have breakfast, read the paper.
7:45 Start work on my picture book. I write one sentence. Then I get an email from a friend telling me that scientists have just discovered a frozen sea on Mars. Yikes! For anyone else this wouldn't be headline news, but I have a manuscript on the solar system ready to go to printer. I email my editor and promise a new paragraph on Mars ASAP.
8:00 Write the paragraph with the new info and send it to the editor.
9:00 The dog needs her morning walk. An author friend emails me a request to read her story. This is someone who helped me with my last project. I drop everything and read the manuscript. I email her my feedback and she writes back with a couple of questions. Dog is not going to get her morning walk.
11:00 I ask husband to take dog out. Dog and husband leave. Peace and quiet. Mail arrives. In the mail is a rejected manuscript. "This story does not meet our current publishing needs." Wish they'd say more, but I agree that the story needs a rewrite. Maybe if I add some mermaids...but I know nothing about mermaids. I'll have to go to the library.
11:10 It starts to rain. Dog and husband back. Dog won't walk in the rain.
11:15 I leave for the library.
12:30 Home from the library. I settle down to write. I complete another sentence, then I get another email from another editor. She has a great idea for illustrating my latest manuscript. This is a tough manuscript to illustrate. I send her idea to an author friend to get a second opinion. He loves the idea too. I email the editor with my feedback.
1:00 Uh oh. Another email from yet another editor. That's what I get for checking my email every five minutes. She wants me to give her all my sales figures for all my books. I gulp. I have almost 60 books! I call to find out specifically what she wants. She's not available.
1:30 Back at my desk. I type another sentence while the dog looks at me mournfully. I decide the first sentence is horrible, so I rewrite it.
I go to the refrigerator, and get a carrot. I eat the carrot. Wasn't there a piece of chocolate in there? There IS a piece of chocolate in there. I eat the chocolate. Shoot! Should have stopped at the carrot. Dog barks. Plumber arrives.
2:00 Plumber leaves. Bill for plumbing: $77.50. Friend calls and wants to talk. I'm home therefore I'm available. I tell friend I'll call back later--that I'm working. Friend is not happy. She doesn't believe me. How much work can it be to write a picture book?
2:15 I get hold of the editor who wants the sales figures. She convinces me that she really needs these figures, at least for three books. The problem is--I don't have them. Most of my royalty statements are as hard to read as the tax code in Sanskrit. The figures aren't cumulative--that means I have to add them up myself. And in some cases, ownership has changed hands several times.
4:00 I've calculated the figures. I send them off.
4:15 Dog needs walk--badly. I need a walk--badly. We go for a walk.
5:00 I've written three sentences today. After dinner I'll read the mermaid book. Good thing I love this job--otherwise I'd hate it.
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