At Avalon Authors, we like to share with you our view of the Writer's Life. I was thinking about this because there's a tendency to assume that a writer's life is fundamentally different from the rest of humanity. On first glance, a writer's life seems to have a shine to it--you set your own schedule, give book talks in front of groups, sign books at a local bookstore, or see your name on a bestsellers' list. Kind of glamorous. A little celebrity around that. If you're a huge name in the business (say, J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts), then your life definitely has the glitz.
But thinking about the writers I know (even Nora Roberts!), their lives are like anyone else's. They have children, spouses, friends, aging parents or pets and other lively people and companions for whom they care and with whom they spend time. There's volunteer service and church, making dinner and housework. Home repairs and lawn maintenance. Just like a non-writer.
Some writers write for a living; writing is their day job. Most fiction writers have a day job other than writing. They put in the 40 or 50 hours a week on that job and add the writing in after hours. Just like a non-writer.
Where the difference really happens is in the Choices.
Where one person may spend an afternoon on a hobby, a writer is sitting at the computer, writing. One person may watch television in the evening; a writer may be researching a new setting. One man may be driving along reviewing in his mind the next stop on his list of calls; a writer may be focusing some thought on a plotline (I plotted my novella "Carousel Magic" driving to work one morning). One mom may bake cookies for her son's school party; the writer mom buys cupcakes from a bakery and spends the saved time creating a character's background. One person stands in the grocery line, bored with the wait; the writer is watching the people and catching conversations that may spark an interaction in a book.