When people ask me if I’m retired, I am indignant. True, I will never see 60 again, unless I take my mother-in-law’s example and start counting the years backwards.
True, I no longer have a day job that pays the bills. True, I have thrown out most of my business suits and spend my days in jeans or shorts. But I still work, I protest: I am a full-time writer!
But what does that mean? Do I work a 9-5 shift, five days a week? Do I have someone managing my time and giving me instructions? Let’s think about that.
Even without a regular alarm clock, I get up very early; usually before six o’clock. If it’s a gym day, I head to the nearest town, punish my body for a while and then return for breakfast. Otherwise I hit the laptop as soon as I am up. But either way, I am working well before many employed people.
And in the mornings, I write. Whether it’s a chapter or two of the next novel, a short story for a competition, an article or blog post, I try to get some new words down on (virtual) paper every day.
It’s the quantity of words that I use as my main measure of productivity. (In my earlier life, I was a production manager and it’s hard to drop the terminology.)
As a self-published (by choice) author, I am also responsible for marketing and sales, so there’s lots of administration and promotion to be fitted into the day. That’s my afternoon task; less creative but equally satisfying.
I knock off about tea-time in order to catch up with the early evening quizzes (my guilty secret) but will always have the laptop set up on the table in the lounge. I often return to it during the evening, although it will mainly be for lighter work, like catching up on social media (and yes, that’s work too).
With a life-style like this, weekends mean very little and so this would tend to be my timetable, whatever day the calendar is showing.
So it’s fair to say I work more than a 9-5 shift, seven days a week. But I am my own boss and I manage my own time. If I want to take a couple of hours off for coffee with a friend, or go to the hairdressers mid-week, I do.