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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Glimpse Into a Day of a Freelancer

This post seems a natural segue from the last one.

My job is so perfect that I work everyday, holidays included.  Granted, I recharge weekly by taking a good part of one day, or the full of it, "off."  So when I say I work six hours a day, it is at least six days a week, sometimes seven, which doesn't count my studying time spent learning more about my craft and/or the business side of it.

I'm an author and freelance copy editor.  Sometimes I have a third job, a part-time "day job," to help me pay my bills.  Wouldn't $400 more every couple weeks help you out?  I know it does for me.

However, when I'm down to just the core two jobs, my dream profession, author/copy editor, here's how my day goes:

1.  An hour spent getting me ready and the house readier:  making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, cooking breakfast, feeding the animals (inside and out), getting dressed.

2.  Then I usually check both business and personal emails, read digests of online author groups I'm involved in, check e-book sales, my bank balance, pay bills, dropping same into a spreadsheet for tax time later.  Maybe post a blog, play with Pinterest (love it!).

I'm trying to limit the online time.  Not sure what the magic number should be, but I'm shooting for one hour.  Is that even possible?

Here lately, I'm trying to watch some old episodes of Numb3rs or Murder, She Wrote on DVD in the background while I go about my morning routines.  Remember, I gave up cable years ago when I changed careers.  Lucky for me, there is free online viewing with Hulu.com and cheap monthly rates at Netflix.com.

When I'm writing my novels, or copyediting a manuscript, I have to have a quiet environment.

3.  Blogging takes a big chunk of time and I probably should have separated it out.  For me, it can easily morph into two hours to draft and then finesse into a final published post.  Remember, I'm a copy editor and, "if in doubt, look it up" kicks in, whether Web11 or Internet research or a CMS check.

4.  At this time, I usually take a break and do some housework, yard work or errands (grocery shopping, post office run, etc.).

5. Then it's lunchtime and I may watch one episode of a TV series while eating.

6.  Now I put in about six hours of copyediting time.  If no project is at hand, I can spend this time reading for fun, or learn more about my craft, or writing my own novels.  Also I can just have the pleasure of watching movies or my favorite old TV shows.  Or decluttering.  Or adding more quotes, Bible verses, to my WIP quotations collection, Volume Two.  Or culling through my boxes of saved data and sorting it into practical categories for use in future novels.

7.  Then dinnertime prep and eating, again in front of a Hulu show or Netflix instant-play movie.  Now is downtime, reading a novel for fun.  Sometimes, my workaholism kicks in and I regroup to attack a project, whether my own or a copy edit.

Somewhere in there I need to add in exercise again.  Good thing spring arrived and I am spending time in my yard or otherwise my day would include way too much chair-sitting to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

FYI:  I cook from scratch.  It takes time, but it is worth it.  And I'm trying to go more carb-conscious too.  So breakfast is real bacon and eggs with lots of coffee.  Just not as much cream.  I'm finding I like black coffee again (as long as it is a good bean to start with).  Lunch is a hamburger patty on lettuce, tomato slices and chopped onion.  With a side of homemade French fries cooked in coconut oil.  Dinner could be baked fish and green beans, or tuna salad in red bell pepper slices.

So no frozen TV dinners.  No prepared food.  I'm on a budget and trying to eat better.  I do drink a lot of water throughout the day, too.  That gets me out of my chair frequently, providing little mini-breaks.

And there it is.  That's a very broad overview.  I wear so many hats:  I'm cook, maid, entrepreneur, accountant, tax man, beautician, maintenance person, gardener, girl Friday, errand-runner.  And that's without adding in a third "day job" to the mix.

In general, I feed my soul first.  What helps me be a better person, a better author.  What makes me feel good.  Like making my bed before I can settle down to work on my books or another author's.  Once I am "full up," then I give of myself.  After that, I reward myself with some entertainment.

It's a work in progress, this schedule of mine.  But so far, it is mighty fine.

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