Just what is it like to be an author? Do they sit at a computer all day pecking away composing thousands of words with ease? Do they have to clean house? Do they take out the trash? Graciously Anita Higman has shared a bit with us.
A Day In the LifeI have been a morning person my whole life. I’m up at 5:30 every weekday morning—sharp—and after I eat a breakfast of granola, Greek yogurt, and fresh berries, I usually have a short devotion time with my husband. This sets the right mood for the day and this also gives us the spiritual strength to deal with all the many tasks and problems that invariably come up during the course of an average workday.
After my husband leaves for work, I go upstairs to my office to get started for the day. Once at my desk, I answer all my emails—which usually takes an hour or two—and then I occasionally allow myself a few minutes to read a few of my reviews.
I would not recommend this ritual, especially at the beginning of the day. If the reviews are gushy then you might get the idea that anything and everything you write will be like laying a nest of golden eggs. Even though reading the honeyed reviews can give you quite the swoony rush, it’s not an honest emotional place to be when you start on your manuscript. Why? You’ll get the feeling you no longer have to try so hard.
If you read even one ugly review, well, those words will paralyze your spirit like a frog in frozen mud. You know I’m right. So, my advice? Start your day with prayer, not reviews.
If I’m working on a rough draft I try to meet a word-count target of about 2,000 words each day. When I hit my goal or nearly there, I can play for a bit, which means I’ll run errands or do some marketing work on my latest release.
There are some days when I don’t get all my work done by the end of the day. When that happens, I don’t usually treat myself to a fun movie or the chance to settle into my cozy den and read one of my favorite authors, such as B.J. Hoff or Jenny B. Jones. It means I’ll have to tromp right back upstairs in the evening and write some more.
Needless to say, it takes a great deal of discipline to be writer. You have to show up every workday—bum securely fastened to the seat of the chair—no matter what. Even if you don’t feel awake or well or motivated.
So, I stay put in that chair even when that rosy halo called the muse isn’t glowing around my head.
Yes, novel writing can be relentless, tedious effort. Can we say boring? But it can also be deeply satisfying. All the way to your soul. Especially when someone tells you that her life was changed for the better because she read one of your stories. It makes all the tedium, all the sacrifice, all the muscle aches and pains as well as the exhaustion, worthwhile.
Okay, after I finish an evening of writing I head to bed about 9:30. Of course, by then the muse is heated up and is now as bright as a street lamp shining in your bedroom window—which means I’m not going to sleep. My imagination as well as my next-day ta-do list can’t turn itself off. So, after I’ve gone to bed, many times my husband will see me pop right back up again to write something down.
After one or two or more of those rounds, I finally settle into slumber. Then, of course, my dreams take it from there. Rarely, though, have I dreamed scenes or concepts that I could use in one of my novels. That’s a shame, really, but I’ve heard other authors say that have incorporated pieces of their dream world into their books. I only wish that were the case for me.
Well, as you can tell, the life of a writer isn’t easy. The life of a writer doesn’t always include a good night’s sleep. But the life of a writer does mean they’ll be days—and sometimes nights—that will be filled with that inimitable and imaginative and miraculous thing called story!
Thank you, Anita, for such a good "share" with us. That gives those of us who are on the receiving end of your labor (your readers) some really good food for thought.
GIVEAWAY: Thanks to the generosity of Anita Higman, two of Chat With Vera's readers have the opportunity to win their own copy A Marriage in Middlebury. Begins January 15 & ENDS February 5 @ 12:01 a.m. Open to those in USA mainland addresses only.
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About the author: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.
Chat With Vera's reviews of Anita Higman's books: