A day in the life

This is a very late blog post today, but I have a good reason: I’m really busy. And none of what I’m busy with is writing, which is the sad part and the unfortunate truth of being an author. Let me give you a quick rundown of my day.

1. I woke up with 17 new emails to answer, and that’s just the overnight stuff; new emails trickle in all throughout the day, and I take a break every couple of hours to answer them. I don’t always answer my emailsright off the bat, though, so don’t feel sad if I haven’t gotten to yours yet. And if I haven’t gotten to yours in a long time, go ahead and resend it just in case.

2. After weeding through my initial emails, I eat breakfast. Today it was leftover teriyaki chicken and rice because I didn’t like any of the cereals in the cupboard—they were all too sugary. I rarely ever eat sweet stuff, though when I do I set the stuff that tastes like chocolate instead of just sugar.

3. After breakfast I drive to work, which is in my action-figure-adorned office in Brandon Sanderson’s basement. All the action figures are behind me, though, so I don’t have any distractions while I write.

4. Normally at this point I would go through my website, approving new reader posts and writing a new blog post and telling myself that I really need to update the poll. Today I took a quick look at the reader posts, shut it down, and cleared off my desk—I have a laptop I work on, but I connect it to a big ergonomic keyboard to protect my wrists, since I have a history of carpal tunnel and hope never to repeat it. The keyboard and the USB mouse went to on the floor, and I pulled out my work for the day: a giant envelope from London filled with the copy edit galley for the third book in my series, I Dont Want to Kill You.

5. A copyedit is simple but time-consuming: the editors have gone through the entire manuscript and covered it with spelling corrections, grammar changes, typesetting marks, and line edits. This is especially intensive for the UK copyedit because the grammar and punctuation rules are significantly different, so the page has a lot more stuff written all over it. My job is to go through the whole thing, word by word, and make sure that all the changes are good, and to specifically address certain editorial queries. In this book, for example, I’ve for some reason overused the phrases “he/she leaned forward” and “he/she shook his/her head,” and the copy editor has marked all of these (and a thousand other things), changed some, pointed out others, and so on. She’s also made sure all my words are spelled right, including the ones I made up, and that all of my names and other information are consistent. As another example, in book 2 I said that the bus stop was 8 blocks from John’s house, and in book 3 I said it was 2 blocks away; my copyeditor is so awesome that she still notices and corrects something so small I didn’t even remember it. My job, as I said, is to look at each and every one of these changes—and everything that wasn’t changed—and make sure it’s all as good as I can possibly make it.

5. Today I only got halfway through, because I’m trying to build a shed in my yard. I didn’t quite finish the shed on Saturday, so I planned to put the roof on tonight, but then it started raining and I had to rush home and put my unfinished pieces into my carport to protect them. I did get the roof on, though, so hooray for that.

6. Tomorrow I go back to work to finish the second half of the copyedit, then on Wednesday I’ll get back to writing. I should finish Part 2 of my current manuscript on Thursday. And at some point in the week I’ll maybe get some doors on my shed.

5 Responses to “A day in the life”

  1. Max Moseley says:

    How many parts is your manuscript? Didn’t you say it was already twice as long as anything you have written so far?

  2. Christoph says:

    If I had to remind myself why I read the blogs of my favorite authors, then this would be the main reason I`d cite. These glimpses into your daily life are really fascinating!
    I finished Mr. Monster in less than 10 hours, and I want to congratulate you for evoking that maelstrom of feelings in me. I laughed, I was happy, I was sad, I wanted to read all at once (which I did), I wanted to chuck the book across the room (which I did not – I love my books and never will I mistreat one on purpose)… In short, the book is brilliant, and you are a genius.
    In an aside, how many authors are regularly working in Brandon Sandersons basement? When reading about your work, I always assumed you had a comfortable day job which leaves you much time to writing. Clearly I was wrong… But the question is, does Brandon have more brilliant writers hidden in his basement?

  3. was that a whip I heard snapping?

  4. kathleen says:

    Here’s a better breakfast for you, Dan, if you’re interested. It’s yummy, very healthy, and will keep you full for a long time. Put 1/4 Cup cracked wheat with 1/2 Cup water in microwave for 3 minutes. Add 1/4 Cup oatmeal on top of that and 1/2 cup milk. Cook for a minute in microwave. Add 1 tsp brown sugar and 30 chocolate chips and eat. You’ll love it for life!
    ps hope you got your action figure from comic con.

  5. Rob Wells says:

    You have two number fives. Is that on purpose to illustrate the importance of good copy editing?

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