I wondered if I should really do a post on this topic . . . I mean, I don't have the most interesting life ever. Unlike that guy from the memes. ;)
But my life sure is a whole lot more interesting now, with Thinklings, than it was back when I worked in customer service (*wince, grimace, flinch, internal screaming*) or just as a proofreader - which was way better, but I still felt that I wanted more. I just didn't know what it was until becoming COO for Thinklings Books!
I won't show you my terrifyingly long, never-ending, color-coded To Do list, a Google Doc that I look at every morning to reorient myself. (One time my husband saw it and went "Holy crap, what is that?!" Lol.) And the Asana.com charts we use to keep track of tasks for the release of every book are even bigger and scarier! I often make notes to myself in my phone about which tasks are my priority for the day, and then delete those notes as I go. I also have Post It notes all over my desk and on my computer - just like the picture above! (I use a bigger monitor, and the laptop's screen actually is covered.) So I've got reminders of things everywhere! It may look like chaos to an outside observer, but I know just where everything is.
On weekdays, I wake up around 8:30 a.m. (I'm a night owl with an autoimmune disease, and mornings are unkind to me) and walk my dog, then eat breakfast while doing brain exercises like Sudoku and listening to upbeat music to psych myself up and remind myself "I can do it!" Then I go to my office - which is at the back of my house - and check my email, check the List of Doom, and mentally organize. I often do little, easy things first to give myself a sense of accomplishment and another mental-health boost.
Hubby calls me on his lunch break at 11:30. At noon, I get back to work and don't eat lunch myself till 1 p.m. or so. (Sometimes I get so engrossed in a task, it's almost 2:00 before I remember to eat!)
So, what kind of stuff do I actually do, and have on my list? I'll put parts of the list here:
1. Scheduling social media posts. I'm in charge of Thinklings' Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. I use Buffer (.com or the app on my phone) for the first two platforms; Facebook has its own schedule-ahead feature - which is nice, because there's only so much room for posts in Buffer (100 at a time on the plan I pay for). I can usually fit in posts for up to a month ahead of time, at 2-4 tweets per day when we're not running a book campaign, and various Instagram posts that don't usually follow a pattern, except for when we're about to release a book. . . . Oh yes, and I have to create those posts before scheduling them! (See #4 below.)
2. Proofreading - either a Thinklings book, or Deborah's ongoing Kindle Vella story, Surviving in Horror (which is so suspenseful and exciting, I always look forward to finding out what happens next!) or occasionally other small things. I really do enjoy this part because the books are wonderful - I'm so lucky!! - and I have blue-light-blocking glasses now to keep headaches at bay.
3. Writing up Thinklings' monthly newsletter. Pretty self-explanatory. I usually draft a basic, boring version one day, then come back to it another day and think of much cleverer ways to say things. And puns to fit in there!! :D
4. Book campaign stuff, when we're about to release a new book. This means making up 7 "picture quotes" (which I jokingly call non-memes; they go up in Twitter and Instagram and sometimes Facebook), 7 different punny tweets for the book with a picture to go along, and various other marketing materials like doodle videos; I won't bore you with all the details.
These materials aren't as easy to make as you might think (one does not simply whip them up like a Boromir meme!). Using the non-memes for an example: I have to proofread the book first, and as I go along, I try to copy and paste quotes that I think are really good into another Word document; then I have to hunt for appropriate, quality images on Pixabay.com (which at first took hours, although I have since built up a good collection and am better at knowing what keywords to search); and then I have to use PowerPoint to crop the pictures and arrange the words on them and play with colors and effects and really tweak them to perfection. (I definitely got the perfectionism from my mom!)
5. Admin stuff like reminders of when to pay royalties, do taxes, and other financial or legal stuff.
6. Maintaining my own author platform. Whether typing up a blog post like I am now, or scheduling Facebook posts or tweets, or doing some friendly interacting on those platforms. I try to make more personal connections, rather than only advertising! And I always remind myself to keep being a digital giver as well.
(I now have a profile on Medium.com - check it out here!)
7. Recently, creating product designs for Thinklings' Redbubble store and putting them in there. (Check 'em out! I'm proud of them! :)
8. Marketing and reaching out to book bloggers. This is not my favorite item, nor is it my strength, but it's very important, so I just have to do it! There's no way I'd be doing this kind of thing if I wasn't totally dedicated to the cause of helping amazing authors who were overlooked by the big publishers. I'm super driven to help their voices be heard!!
I'll stop there because, whew! There's more - oh, is there more - but I'm not trying to write a scary story here. ;)
Anyway, hubby gets home around 2:30 (he has one of those annoyingly early jobs) and takes a nap or works on his hobby of making modifications to the car, and he walks the dog at 4. I work till 4:30 or 5, and then we have dinner* and relax!
He goes to bed around 8, which is when I feel like my brain is finally kicking into full gear, but I give myself time for pleasure reading** or watching Netflix. Sometimes if I have a ton of work, I do more work in the evening. But I try not to overdo it. We gotta take care of ourselves! Evening is also when I work on Book 2, almost every night before bed, but I give myself an important Sabbath from it.
So, yes, what a thrilling life! ;) It's perfect for me, though, because it plays to my strengths - as an introvert, I have all the alone time I need to do my absolute best work and, holy crap, I'm getting a bit misty-eyed as I type this, because I am so, so grateful that I'm finally able to do a job that actually fits me! Which, of course, I've wanted my whole life but for some of us, it's super hard to find where we fit in; we have to carve out our own place in the world. And even though it took till my mid-30s to have this dream job, it's a whole lot better than never! <3
What's your favorite part of your job? (If you don't like yours, I hope I've inspired you to try to change things!)
*Nothing gourmet because cooking does not "spark joy" for me at all. Lol.
**Yes, it's for pleasure, but it's also important for writers to be readers! Especially of the genre they write. I mostly read fantasy - and as you probably know, I write urban fantasy. Hey, it's what I love the most! :)
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.