What’s the Schedule Like for an Author Who Publishes a New Book Every Year?

Writing while promoting can be tough.

Photo by pio3/Shutterstock

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Shannon Messenger, author, Keeper of the Lost Cities series:

My schedule is a bit challenging, but it’s never a bad thing as a writer to have too many deadlines. It just takes a lot of juggling, and since I’m relatively new at this, I’m still finding the right balance. So at the moment, “free time” is definitely a rare commodity. As is sleep—especially as I get closer to my deadlines. Fortunately, I love my job, and I don’t mind the workload.

I do work every day, but that’s always been my norm. And how much time I write depends on how many business things I have to take care of before I get started. It also takes me a little while to get in the right headspace for new words, so I generally start my writing time by re-reading everything I wrote the day before and polishing it up.

I try to stay on schedule by setting daily word-count goals, and I try to hold myself to them—but I’m also not a fan of writing for the sake of word count. I used to make it a rule that I couldn’t go to bed until I hit X-number of words. But so often when I did that, I’d wake up exhausted and end up throwing away the last few hours of writing because it wasn’t any good. So I’ve learned to know my limits and recognize when I’ve gone from being tired to completely exhausted and close down the laptop and let us both recharge for a few hours before starting again.

As for the simultaneous writing and promoting thing, that one is tougher. I’ve finally found a way to work on planes, and if I’m in my hotel room for a decent chunk of time, I’ll get some writing done while on the road. But so often my days will be booked from morning until evening, and the only thing I can do is to plan for that ahead of time when I build my writing schedule. It’s not a perfect system, but I’m constantly finding new tricks to make it easier, so hopefully in a few more years I’ll have things perfected.

What is the schedule like for an author who publishes a new book every year? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora: