• Tag Archives job
  • The Daily Schedule of a Writer/Artist

    January 27 and 28 2020 day planner

    It’s been a long while since I wrote the daily schedule of a writer/artist (me, in this case). It might have been in one of the newsletters I sent out in the fall that I last talked about it. Might have been on the blog though I’m leaning toward the former. Anyway, regardless, a new layout of the schedule is probably due so here is what a typical day looks like for me at Axiom-man Central. Of course, like in any life, things happen that can throw a wrench into the following general workday. However, I stick to this schedule as the backbone of my whole operation and make time for it as able on days that get screwy. I’ve long advocated a schedule for creators as one of the important ingredients to making a successful career out of the arts.

    Monday to Friday:

    Wake up – Lately it’s been averaging between 8:30 and 9:30am. Next, roll around in bed for a short while to let the brain come online before checking the news.

    Coffee – Go down to the bunker and turn the computer on. Go back up to the main level and get coffee while the computer is loading (older machine so takes a bit to warm up).

    Patreon – On a day a Patreon post is scheduled, I do this first and get it done for my patrons. For example, today was the latest chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine so that was posted before writing this entry. Market Patreon entry.

    Blog – Skip previous step if a non-Patreon day. Write and/or edit blog entry. Take any required picture(s) and post. Market blog entry and set up in the broadcaster a couple of extra notices about the latest entry to air throughout the day on the social feeds.

    Break – Maybe around 15 or 20 minutes. Used to change mental gears. On the break I’ll either read something or play a game or fiddle with something around the house.

    Email – Check email and respond, if needed/able to.

    Work – Writing, drawing, editing, freelancing, book production, marketing, etc. Could be all of those or just one of them. Depends what’s on deadline and what isn’t. Work until 4 with a couple breaks thrown in there between tasks to rest the eyes and/or hands and get blood moving throughout the system. I’ve been trying to give careful attention to lunch because I get so wrapped up working I forget to eat then around 2 I start to feel real sick. A bad habit I’m working on. Back to the job: Pressing work is in my day planner so I consult it every morning so I know if I’ve set the day aside for something(s) specific. Whatever the day planner says I’m doing is priority one for the day. If the day planner shows the day as open, then I work on the next thing due. If things are due more or less around the same time, then I pick whatever I’m leaning toward at that moment.

    End of day – Around 4pm. Start shutting things down; possibly do a couple small tasks that had to wait until the end of the work day for whatever reason (i.e. a quick marketing thing or a phone call or whatever).

    Evening – Cooking is my thing so after the work day is done, I put on my chef’s hat and start thinking about what I want to make for dinner. This involves scoping out the deep freeze and scanning the pantry for ideas (though I usually start getting ideas mid-afternoonish). Then I cook dinner and let the day’s issues–if there are any–melt away. Once dinner is done, the evening is mine to do whatever with whomever (I usually hang out with author Melinda Marshall and this ranges from playing games to reading to TV to going for groceries, etc). On other nights, Melinda and I hang out with my boys.

    Bed – 10pm or thereabouts.

    Saturday:

    Wake up – Somewhere between 9:30 and close to 11am.

    Coffee – Enjoy a cup of coffee with Melinda.

    Newsletter – Head down to the bunker to send Saturday’s newsletter.

    The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday are days off, and it typically takes until late Saturday afternoon for me to put the week in my back pocket. Saturday evening and all of Sunday are used to do next to nothing and purposefully not think about work so my brain can heal from the week and be sharp for the week to come.

    And that’s what a typical week looks like here in the Great White North.

    To touch on what I said above about this schedule being the backbone on days things don’t go as planned, on such days I still let this overall schedule float in the background of my mind so that when a window of time opens up amidst that particularly goofy day, I can still do what needs doing or at least get a start on those things so the day isn’t a wash.

    Right now, this schedule works well and hasn’t changed much since I last talked about it. It will no doubt change somewhere down the line since life isn’t stagnant, but this method works for the time being.


  • The Toughest Part About Being a Writer/Artist

    A.P. Fuchs Books
    Some books from the A.P. Fuchs library.

    Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.

    So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:

    Getting respect.

    When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.

    The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).

    The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.

    There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and printing them. Those movies you go to every Friday night? A whole slew of people had to go somewhere to play dress-up and pretend for a camera to tell you a story. That video game? Tons of people. Tons of artists. Even the very computer or smartphone this entry is being read on was dreamed up and sketched out by people who went to work. Somebody had to write all the code used in that phone. Somebody had to draw all those app icons. Somebody had to make science fiction science fact. Oh, and they got paid to do it because they need food and shelter, too.

    Why is my job not normally respectable? Is it the non-steady paycheck? Is it the fact I like it? Is it because I’d rather spend a third of every day enjoying myself versus dragging myself through the motions? Is it because I made up my mind and chose what I was going to do with the old statement that you can either work towards making your own dreams come true or you can work for someone else to make their dreams come true?

    Why does a lawyer get the handshake and I don’t? Why does a doctor? Or an accountant? Or a factory worker or a mechanic? Their job puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their loved ones’ heads just like mine does. My income goes towards food and bills, getting stuff for the kids and gas in the car. It buys Christmas presents and pays for date nights. It funds life just like their job funds life.

    I work. You work. We all work.

    And like I posted to social media forever ago, I want to repeat here: Everything is art. Every. Single. Thing. Creation is God’s canvas and nature is His painting. The stuff humans have made? It’s all based on someone dreaming and asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Then writing it down and drawing it out. Designing your couch is an art form. Writing the code for your car’s computer is an art form. Coming up with how to safely make a handheld drill is an art form. And so on.

    Everything is art.

    In the end, I’ve learned to live with the hits and learned my career choice will be frowned upon by others. But there are also others who don’t frown and instead smile. Those are the people who give respect. The others? I’ll still respect their work because they are my fellow human beings, and perhaps one day I’ll get the same occupational respect in return.

    Author’s note: This article isn’t about complaining. It’s pointing out a disconnect that some people seem to have and is hopefully encouraging to those who might be in the same boat.


  • Creator Breakfast with G.M.B. Chomichuk and Jonathan Ball (Networking)

    A.P. Fuchs writing by G.M.B. Chomichuk
    Sketch of A.P. Fuchs at the keyboard by G.M.B. Chomichuk

    This morning I had a wonderful breakfast at Clementine Cafe here in Winnipeg with writer/illustrator G.M.B. Chomichuk and writer/editor Jonathan Ball. And while networking wasn’t the reason I chose to see them, it was something that inevitably happened given that all three of us work in the business.

    I usually see these dudes at book signings or on the convention circuit, but since I’ve been away from events for a season, it was a pleasure to have a sit-down with them and talk shop and catch up after so long. It was also an opportunity to share work habits and pick each other’s brains over how we do things and what works and what doesn’t, tell stories, and learn a thing or two.

    Today I came away with two wins, and in order of occurrence they were: A dynamite breakfast. Had the Turkish eggs and it was brilliant. The second was a writing gig. I’ll reveal more details about that here on the blog when I’m allowed to.

    Most creators would rather be holed up in their studio or office and just work. And while that has its charm and is important in order to get things done, it’s also critical time is spent with those in the business. First and foremost, it’s a chance to simply be friends with like-minded people and realize you’re not alone in the universe regarding your creative quirks. Secondly, it might lead to opportunities to use your craft you might not otherwise have had.

    In summary, go have breakfast with other creatives when you can. It yields positive friendships and, sometimes, a job.

    Networking, man. Networking.


  • On Scheduling

    It’s important for every creator to make a schedule for their creative time. The idea of “creating when inspired” or “in the mood” doesn’t work. (Been there, done that.) Not very long ago I was mocked on-line for suggesting a creative schedule to someone who was having trouble creating. The answer I proposed to their problem was to treat it like a job and just do it. Most seasoned creators will tell you that you have to create whether you feel like it or not if you want a career in this business.

    The formula is simple: Approach this casually, you’ll get casual results. Approach this diligently, you’ll get diligent results.

    There is no way around this. And, usually, once you get going on a project after deciding to start working, the project starts to flow on its own anyway.

    Schedule out your time. Schedule out your projects.

    It’s worth taking the time to do this step. In fact, it actually saves you time later in a multitude of ways.


  • On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)

    Though this demands a full article, here is the brief version on creative freelancing for a living.

    It’s a job. A fun one, but a job. The common misconception people have of those working from home is that it’s all playtime and games, sleeping in and working here and there. This isn’t true. During the day, home becomes my workplace. There is a start-of-work time and an end-of-work time. (Except during deadline season, then it’s work until it’s done.) I have clients who have me on the clock. I have personal projects on the clock. Everything is scheduled. If I don’t adhere to the schedule, I lose the job with a client and/or I lose income generated from regularly releasing books. I have my Patreon to attend to with hard-earned money being spent by people who have trusted me with it in exchange for entertaining them. I have a career built on a reputation and if I wreck that reputation, I can’t get it back. This is all taken very seriously. My career is zero without my readers and clients. My ability to eat rests on ensuring they are treated well and quality work is being brought to them.

    While working at home has some advantages like not needing to commute or not needing to pack a lunch, or endless coffee and the ability to vape inside, it’s still treated like an out-of-home job. It has to be. I’m working whether I feel like it or not. I’m putting the time in whether I feel like it or not. This idea that working from home isn’t the same as a “real” job needs to stop. What is a job? It’s a task(s) you do in exchange for something. It’s a task(s) you’re depended upon to do. Any freelancer who knows their next meal is dependent on getting the job done knows this.

    Thought I’d clear the air.