Guest Post – A Day in the Life of Novelist Stephanie Bond
Stephanie Bond, author extraordinaire, shares her glamorous life . . . or not LOL, enjoy!
Spoiler alert—I’m going to burst your bubble about how glamorous my life is as a novelist. Here’s a glimpse of my typical day:
7:00 a.m. – My alarm sounds. When I lift my head, a caffeine withdrawal headache explodes in my temples. I’m on deadline, so I’ve been running on caffeine, and now my body demands it. I get up to retrieve Excedrin, a can of Coke Zero, and a cold pack from the freezer for my head. I turn on the news and fire up my laptop; I have 810 accumulated unanswered emails in my inbox. I return emails until the headache goes away. Note to self: Look up stock symbol for company that makes Excedrin.
9:00 a.m. – Feeling better, dressed and with breakfast on my stomach. Follow up with the graphic artist who’s working on a new cover for me, and review notes from beta readers about a new project. Survey my calendar for appointments or other occasions that might have sneaked up on me. HVAC maintenance person coming today. I survey my master to-do list and scribble on a separate list what I MIGHT be able to get done today, if it’s a perfect, magical day.
9:30 a.m. – I set my timer for 30 minutes to force myself to focus and write new pages of my work-in-progress (wip).
9:40 a.m. – The idea of a perfect, magical day begins to crumble. My agent calls—she needs PDFs of a half dozen of my books, along with synopses, to shop the foreign rights. ASAP.
10:00 a.m. – My timer sounds (it startles me); I’ve written a grand total of two paragraphs on my wip.
11:00 a.m. – The HVAC guy calls to let me know he’ll be here at 1:00 p.m. I say fine.
11:20 a.m. – The doorbell rings. It’s the UPS guy—can I sign for a package for my neighbor (I live in a low-rise condo building) who isn’t home? I do.
11:25 a.m. – I decide I can get in a workout and write some new pages on the treadmill at my gym before the HVAC guy arrives. Throw on workout clothes, stick my Alphasmart machine and synopsis of wip in my bag, pick up a strip of foam core board, and head to the gym 2 blocks away.
11:30 a.m. – I put the foam core board across the treadmill and set up a “portable” office, set the pace for 3mph, slight incline, and begin to write, shooting for one hour.
11:33 a.m. – Person stops to ask what kind of machine I’m working on.
11:37 a.m. – Another person stops to ask what I’m doing.
11:40 a.m. – Another person stops to ask what I do for a living. This continues approximately every 5 minutes. Note to self: Next time, bring iPod.
12:30 p.m. – I pack up my portable office and head home. 3 pages written on wip, and 3 miles on my pedometer. Jump in shower.
12:45 p.m. – HVAC guy calls—where is my building, exactly? I tell him.
12:50 p.m. – HVAC guy calls—where can he park, exactly? I tell him.
12:55 p.m. – Get a call from a friend—she’s in midtown for an appointment and I’m the only person she can think of who doesn’t work—would I like to meet for a drink? I tell her no, I’m busy not working.
1:00 p.m. – HVAC guy calls—he can’t find a place to park. I tell him to keep looking
1:10 p.m. – HVAC guy calls—he still can’t find a place to park. I tell him to keep looking.
1:30 p.m. – HVAC guy calls—he’s parked illegally, so he needs to hurry. I jog downstairs to let him in the building wondering how thorough of a checkup my system is going to get.
1:40 p.m. – But he takes his time, chats me up despite the fact that I’m frantically trying to write new pages. He says it’s so cool that I’m a writer—it must be nice not to have to work. I agree that yes, it’s nice not to have to work.
2:00 p.m. – I get the key to the building roof to let the HVAC guy up there. It’s an ordeal I will spare you. Suffice to say I now have tar on my blouse…and under my fingernails.
2:15 p.m. – HVAC guy is finally gone. I turn back to wip. My editor calls—she needs preliminary material (Dear Reader letter, other items) on my next book asap. Oh, and how is book coming along, btw? I lie and say fine.
2:20 p.m. – I notice my website is down. Call my service provider. While I’m on hold, I work on the stuff my editor needs.
2:25 p.m. – I get an email from my CPA. She needs a quarterly P&L statement for my business. ASAP.
3:00 p.m. – My doorbell rings; it’s FedEx—can I sign for a package for my neighbor who isn’t home? I do. And then remove my digital doorbell from my door.
4:00 p.m. – Spend an hour returning emails, which include scoldings from readers for 1) not being on Facebook, 2) not having every book I’ve ever written available in every possible format, and 3) not writing fast enough. I feel like a slug.
5:00 p.m. – I check my mailbox and find a set of thick contracts to go over and sign. Since I’ve been waiting on them for a long daggone time, I set down to work on them NOW.
7:00 p.m. – I’ve ingested gallons of Coke Zero, but somehow forgot to have lunch, am high on caffeine and starving. Throw something in the oven to heat up, turn back to wip.
7:30 p.m. – Smoke alarm sounds. Dinner in oven in flames. Open doors and windows to air out the condo, call my neighbors to apologize. Clean up mess. Settle for cereal for dinner.
9:00 p.m. – Sister calls to chat. I have to multi-task, so I’m doing laundry, dishes, and running the Swiffer in the background.
9:45 p.m. – My website is back up, which only reminds me how much I need to update it.
10:00 p.m. – Back to wip, desperate to finish another chapter before I go to bed.
1:00 a.m. – I’m fading, can no longer remember names of my characters. I glance at my to-do list, sigh, and hope for a clearer schedule tomorrow. Set my alarm and set out the Excedrin.
Note to self: Look up stock symbol for company that makes Excedrin.
Readers: Do you work from a to-do list, or do you just handle the day as it comes?
Stephanie Bond is the author of over 60 mystery and romance novels, including the humorous BODY MOVERS series, which is available in audio through Random House. Look for her current bestselling ebook, OUR HUSBAND. Stephanie lives in midtown Atlanta.