Monday, July 11, 2022

My third and fourth least favorite questions

The recently released The Best of Edward M. Lerner finally offers answers to my least favorite questions numbers one and two. (Those are, “What’s your favorite from among your books?” and “If I want to try one of your books, which should it be?”)

And numbers three and four? Often asked by randomly encountered people (if they discover I'm an author) and interviewers alike: "What's your typical work day? How much time do you put in?" For which the honest answers are, "There are no typical days," and "Yeah, I wonder that, too."

Of course, there are days when all I do is sit at a computer and compose and/or edit text. I suspect many people would be surprised how few days are like that. Because there is so much more to the job ...

Outlining. Plotting. Fleshing out characters and locations. Research directly applicable to a specific book, story, or article project. All manner of interaction with editors and publishers, at every stage of the process. For some projects, interacting with beta readers. Those are, unambiguously, part of the writer's job. But then there all these other activities:

  • Long walks pondering story ideas, or how a character might react to a situation, or (me being an SF writer) the rules of some extrapolated tech
  • Reading that might -- and might not -- lead to a new book, story, or article
  • Reading to stay current in science and technology (again, me being an SF author)
  • Reading a sampling of colleagues' new books, to know how the genre is evolving, and to avoid inadvertent similarities
  • Maintaining a professional social-networking presence (Facebook, LinkedIn, this blog [and this post?], my authorial website, ...)
  • Doing sysadmin duties for that website (software updates, security-log review, backups)
  • Doing promotion (interviews, signings, conventions, lectures) -- and travel time for many of those
  • Maintaining -- and following up on -- a tickler file (of story submissions, contract expiration or renewal/rollover dates, royalty due dates), because without follow-up, a lot goes astray
  • Keeping records of income and expenses for tax purposes 
  • And on, and on, and on  ...

Methinks I'll stick with "There are no typical days" and "Yeah, I wonder that, too."

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