During interviews I’ve been asked to share my typical writing day. Typical implies that some days go one way – and some days may go another way. But the truth is, my writing days don’t vary. I have a plan, and I do my best to follow it each and every day. It’s the only way I can stay on top of my work. Writing is a job, and you have to treat it as such. If I worked in an office, some of my duties might change from day to day, but other things aren’t negotiable. For example: What if you told your boss that tomorrow you might start an hour late because you stayed up to watch a movie on TV instead of going to bed? Or what if you decided to take a two hour lunch just because you felt like it? I can guarantee you that you’d be looking for a new job! Employers expect certain things. When you’re working for yourself, you must set your own boundaries and rules. The more you control your schedule, the more productive you become – and believe it or not – the more time you have to relax.
I get up at a certain time. I have breakfast and spend time with God. Then I go to my office. On Mondays, I do all the “other work” that writers do – and I spend some time editing what I’ve already written. Tuesday through Friday, I write every morning until lunch. Yes, every morning. (Unless I’m on vacation. Hasn’t been one for a while, but I’m convinced it will happen one of these days! LOL!)
After lunch, I work on social media, promotion, etc. If I’m running behind on a deadline, I’ll put a couple more hours of writing in. By five or six o’clock it’s time for supper, TV and some embroidery. Monday through Thursday I get to bed by a certain time so I can get up early and start all over again.
Does that seem too controlled to you? Too strict? It is strict. But when I sit down to rest in the evening, my mind is clear because I know I’ve done everything I can to make my deadline. Sadly, I haven't made them all. I’m blessed to work with publishers who know I’ll get the job done, so they work with me. So far, I’ve never turned in a manuscript so late it caused my publisher a problem.
What about weekends? I usually take them off. There have been emergencies where I had to work a weekend here or there, but I do my best to protect that time so I can spend it with my family. If I didn’t set strict guidelines for myself, I’d probably be stressed out, upset, and on the verge of losing my mind. I don’t want to spend my life sitting in front of my computer instead of relaxing and living the other part of my life with joy.
Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored twenty-four books and just finished a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released in May of 2014. The second book, “Deadly Echoes” became available in February. The third book, “Rising Darkness released in November. Now she’s writing a new series based on the U.S. Marshals. The first book, “Fatal Frost,” in her Defenders of Justice series, will release in November of 2016. She is also working on an Amish cozy mystery series for Guideposts. The first book, “Blessings in Disguise” was published in June, 2015 and has been nominated for a Carol Award. It was followed by “Simply Vanished,” and “All Abuzz at the Honey Bee.” She will write at least one more in this series.
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.