I'm scheduled to be The Author at a high school career day. They sent along a list of possible questions, and one caught my interest: What is an average day in your job like?

Let's see. I get up, eat breakfast and read for a while. (You have to know what the competition is producing.) Then I read email and blog. After that, if things go well, I write for a few hours. That is, of course, in addition to doing housework, answering phone calls, and maintaining the people and animals in my household who can't maintain themselves. Then it's lunch. In the afternoon I do the daily stuff: errands and contacting people I need to see. I try to write again, but I make myself stop at 5:00, when my brain gets less creative. Evenings I edit but don't write. Before bed I read again, but it's hard anymore to just enjoy a book. I'm always taking note of what I like and don't like in a novel.

No high school kid will understand the "Other" categories of writing as a profession: networking, marketing, visiting libraries and bookstores, writing articles, short stories, and letters to get your name out there. Of course you still do the things required of good citizens, those things that claim to take an hour or an afternoon but slurp up days and weeks instead.

Writers often complain that there's no time to write, but somehow we do it: a chapter here, some editing there. We market too, although never as much or as well as we dream it in our heads or as the advice from the experts suggests.

I've tried mapping out time for writing, but it seldom works for me to say "I WILL write from 9 to 3." Sometimes it flows best early in the morning, when most people are asleep. Other times not so much. Sometimes it's going really well, but I have to stop and get ready for that Career Day speech at the high school.

So what will I tell the kiddies? That writing is not a job for procrastinators. Writers have to be as self-motivated as door-to-door salesmen, as dedicated as nuns, and as adaptable as jungle snipers. And there probably needs to be some writing talent in there somewhere, too.

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