Friday, October 25, 2013

A day in the writing life of author Heather Wardell

Thank you, Michelle, for letting me hang out on your blog today! You'd asked about my typical writing day, and I'm happy to describe it for you and your readers.

I am a full-time writer, but that doesn't mean I write from 9-5. I wish I could, but I have found that I've got about 3-4 hours of solid heads-down writing in me and then I'm done for the day.

Here's how I generally work my schedule. In the morning before breakfast I figure out what I'm going to work on for the day and answer all of my email. (I don't go back into email except in emergencies until the next day - it saves me a ton of time for other things!)

After breakfast, my husband leaves for work and I get started too. I like to do my hardest work (the full-on creative part) in the morning when I'm fresh, so I usually spend around two hours either planning or writing the first draft of a new book.

At lunch I need to clear my head, so I usually watch an episode of some television show I've seen a million times. I don't have to strain my brain trying to keep up, and I feel like the visual aspect of it works better to relax me than reading does at that point. My favorite shows are nearly all no longer running, but I love them anyhow: the great Canadian series Corner Gas, the cancelled-far-too-soon Firefly, the wonderful Futurama, and the "as a child of the 70's/80's I am legally obligated to love Jason Bateman" Arrested Development.

Then it's time to edit. I am nearly always working on two books at once, because of how I like to schedule my days, and so I will now spend around two hours again on either the second or third draft of a different book. All of my books get codenames because of this process, so for example at the moment I am writing the first draft of Mango and editing the second of Llama.

An interesting sidenote - because the books go by codenames right up until I find their titles during third draft, in my head they still get called by their codenames long after their release dates. I have caught myself during get-togethers with readers referring to "Eaglet" and "Jasper" instead of "Blank Slate Kate" and "Everybody's Got a Story", and I appreciate how willing my lovely readers are to put up with me. :)

At around three to three-thirty, I am done for the day writing-wise. I do occasionally push further, but then I find it almost impossible to do four hours the next day. Instead, I spend the rest of my day doing things like writing this blog post, formatting my books for release, and investigating promotional opportunities. And of course I make dinner (if my best friend the crockpot hasn't taken care of that for me) and give the house a quick tidying since I am one of those horrible "walks away and leaves her stuff everywhere" people and my husband is not.

It's a constant juggling act to make sure everything gets done without letting the administrative things take too much time away from the writing, but I'm pretty happy with my schedule at this point. It's literally taken me years to get to this stage, and I think it's been worth the trip. :)

Author Bio:

Growing up, I was an avid (rabid?) reader. I am a natural speed reader, regularly clocked at about 1200 wpm (I read Harry Potter 5 in just under three hours), and always have several books on the go, nearly all in e-book form on my Kindle.
I have always made up stories in my head, but never considered becoming a writer. Instead, I intended to be a high school music teacher. I was sidetracked by my enjoyment of my psychology courses in university, and ended up with a psychology degree with a concentration in computer science.
This took me to a major Canadian bank as a software developer. I stayed there for just over four years, and then went back to school to become an elementary school teacher. After four years teaching elementary school computer science, I took up the National Novel Writing Month challenge and attempted to write a novel in a month.
I succeeded, and the first draft of "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" was the result. I realized I love writing. I left teaching, and I haven't looked back since!

In my non-writing time, I read, run, swim, crochet, take care of my 55 gallon aquarium and my cat Trinity, and play drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.
Connect with Heather!

Buy the Book, Everybody's Got A Story!

§ (Kindle)
§  Barnes and Noble (for their nook reader)
§  Kobo (ePub format)
§ (variety of formats)
§  Sony (for their ebook readers)

If you prefer print, you can get "Everybody's Got a Story" at:


1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this Heather and so excited to meet you in less than 2 weeks!