The writing chores on hand, or just dealt with, include: 1) the current book-in-progress, which would really like at least 3-4 hours a day of my time, six days a week, 2) reading the background material for a novella that's semi-contracted, 3) editing cover copy for an omnibus edition of two older books, 4) writing additional background/promotional material for UK editor, 5) answering reader email, 6) posting to writer-related blogs (LJ and Paksworld for now), 7) working on illlustrations for Paksworld website, 8) reworking essays on writing (both craft and business) for my main website. In just a couple of weeks I'll be dealing with the copy edits of the book in production, as well.
When I think back over the past 20+ years of writing 20+ books and 30+ short pieces, I realize that I've spent way more hours writing--or working on writing-related stuff such as revisions, copy edits, page proofs, editorial correspondence, promotion (including travel, appearances, web-work) etc--than most non-writers think writers put into it, and I'll bet the same is true for any other full-time writer. I'm not a lightning fast writer, or particularly slow. But I am willing to put in the hours, at least six days a week, to get the work done.
Is this a brag? Not really. It's a reality check. Any small town doc will tell you that's not a forty-hour-week job. Any small businessperson, running an independent store, will tell you the same thing. Self-employment is not about having more free time--it's about using your work time on something you enjoy, something you have a passion for. I love my work.
If you want to be a writer, you'd better like working long days and not doing nearly as much other stuff as you did before you got serious. Would I like to sign up for a birding trip, a butterfly count, take a trip out to Real County to look at odes and the birds there? Yup. Will I? Not until this is done and what comes after.
And now, having had an approval response on one of today's chores, and a brief break here, it's back to the other pile in front of me (and beside, on both sides, and behind, and on the floor between me and the door.)