What Does A Writer Do All Day?

After years as the wife of a minister it still always amazed me when people asked what my husband did all day. I mean, the ministry is a cushy job, right? Write a sermon, preach it and shake hands after church. Do the occasional wedding and hospital visit and spend the rest of the week on the golf course.

Of course, real ministry is nothing like that. The average minister works at least 55 hours a week, often more. Ministerial spouses tire of feeling like widows, and consequently ministers have a surprisingly high divorce rate. Some of them are so busy they don’t notice.

Writers get the same question. Our versions go like this. “You mean it’s your job?” “Isn’t it nice to work if you feel like it.”

Of course there are writers, many of them, who only work when inspiration strikes. They turn out a book now and then (or never) and support themselves in other ways because the occasional book only reaps occasional royalties. Those of us who do at least partially support ourselves with our writing can be happily married to ministers because we, too, work all the time.

So what do writers do all day?

Today isn’t a normal day for me. I’m between books, one book waiting to be edited, another proposal sent in this week for acceptance. Normally there’s serious writing on every afternoon’s agenda. Right now, though, with nothing confirmed on the novella that’s due in March, writing might be premature.  I might start anyway and take my chances, or I might clear out other projects.

The morning began with an early email to my editor and agent asking for an update. Since we’re in the midst of a move, I need to schedule my response time for upcoming edits.  Emails have been flying ever since as we’ve agreeably worked out details.  Along the way my editor sent me final covers of two of the three reissues of my Shenandoah Album novels.  It’s clear the art department worked hard on these.  I’m delighted and told her so.

My email also turned up the synopsis for another of the novellas in the upcoming Christmas anthology.  I noticed something in the synopsis that made something in mine incorrect.  I emailed my co-authors because we will have to coordinate carefully.  The three books are linked, and all details have to match.  While I’ve never met Janice Kay Johnson or Sarah Mayberry, I’m enjoying them immensely. They’re easy to work with, and we think alike.

I caught up on more email, answering reader questions, checking writers loops that I subscribe to, and posting an update on my Facebook page.  I realized I needed to set up this blog since I’ll be at a home inspection on Friday morning, so I began this post.  All before 10 o’clock.

It’s 11 now.  I’ve worked on our upcoming move, an upcoming brainstorming session with my brainstorming group, and re-read my novella outline.  The list goes on.

This is a great job.  It’s a busy job, too, with lots of juggling required.  Still, how lucky am I?   Because even though I’m busy, sometimes I have to ask myself what I do all day.  Because it rarely feels like work. Anybody who can say that has been uniquely blessed.


  1. Emilie Richards on October 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I really ought to point out that after writing that blog, I did take a nap. Another thing writers can do, especially when they’re in the middle of a move.

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