I actually get this one pretty often. The answer is yes. I sleep, generally from midnight to eight a.m., unless I’m up later, giggling maniacally with Moira Rogers (Bree & Donna) in IM. This happens about once a week. I compensate by sleeping later. But since I suspect this question has its roots in speculation regarding my productivity, I will elaborate.
Yes, I’m prolific. I work a lot, I’d say forty to fifty hours a week. Sometimes it’s more if I’m on deadline. Here’s what my schedule looks like:
If I’m drafting a book, I write for three hours in the morning. I don’t check email or mess around online. Generally, that’s 3K words. To keep the writing moving that fast, I block the scene the night before in bed as I’m waiting to fall asleep. I know what I’m writing in the morning, so there’s no blank staring time. Once I’ve finished my words, that’s not the end of my work day. I spend the other five hours working on edits, revisions, galleys, or whatever else has come across my desk. I also do promo and networking. At five, I knock off work. I make dinner for my family, and we hang out with the kids until 8:30. I spend 1.5 hours alone with my husband. At ten, we split up so he can have some quiet time (to play video games and watch bad Japanese horror movies.) From ten to midnight, I will do one of three things: (1) read a book, (2) chat on IM to one of my friends, (3) work more. It really depends on my mood as to which. Sometimes I combine options two and three. This is my life, five days a week, and it allows me to accomplish a lot.
I treat this like a job. Granted, it’s the best job in the world and my dream come true, but it is work. I don’t expect it to be magical. Some days are better than others and the words fly. Other days it takes a really long time (all day, which is exhausting!) to get the words done. And sometimes I still have a pile of work to do when I pass out in the evening. It takes commitment and dedication to manage my workload, and I don’t mind a bit.
There’s nothing wrong with being a hobbyist. Just be reasonable about your goals and expectations. You can’t expect to earn a living at this unless you commit time to it. (There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Maybe you’ll write the next big thing and become incredibly famous, but it’s better not to count on that.) In my view, there’s no substitute for hard work.
How much time do you devote a week to your craft? Would you like to write full-time someday? What’s your goal?
Photo courtesy Flickr’s SashaW