GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Author Dane Cobain: A Day in the Life of a Professional Writer | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Author Dane Cobain: A Day in the Life of a Professional Writer

A Day in the Life of a Professional Writer

One of my favourite writers is Charles Bukowski, who had a hell of a way with words despite the fact that he wasn’t a nice man (he was an alcoholic, gambling-addicted womaniser). He has a great line that goes, “Never get out of bed before noon.”

I’m a night owl, so I agree with him.

I normally wake up at around 11 AM and check my phone to see if anyone’s booked a consultation call with me, because my slots open at 12 PM. If I’ve got a call, I’ll get up. If not, there’s a good chance I’ll go back to sleep for a bit.

When I finally get up properly at around 2 PM, I get dressed, make a cup of coffee and start work. I use a variant of the Pomodoro Method that I call The Schedule. Basically, I work in 45-minute loops. For the first 15 minutes, I tidy my house, do stuff on my computer like marketing and checking my emails and spend the rest of it writing. The remaining half an hour is dedicated to working on my freelance clients.

Freelancing
As a freelancer, I do pretty much anything relating to writing. That includes everything from ghostwriting and editing books to working on blog posts and website copy, with specialisms in marketing, publishing and technology. I also offer coaching to people who are publishing their first books.

When I’m working, I’m usually simultaneously watching YouTube videos or Netflix, although I’ll sometimes put a vinyl record on as well. I can work in silence, but I’d prefer not to.

I work pretty much every hour I can, in part because I bought my first house in September of last year and so I still need to squirrel away extra cash for my mortgage, renovations and the inevitable massive tax bill that comes from being self-employed.

Because of that, I work at The Schedule from 2 PM until about 8 PM, generally stopping to make some food at about six. On Mondays and Thursdays, I also take part in Q&As over Zoom in which I work alongside some other coaches to answer any questions that out writing students have.

I also try to get out in the garden while the sun is shining, even if it’s just to water my plants. This is the first time I’ve ever had a garden of my own and I’m trying to grow fruits, herbs and vegetables. I work out there on my laptop from time to time, too.

In the evening
In the evenings, I switch things up a bit and also spend some time shooting and editing videos for my YouTube channel, Dane Reads. I’m a serial multi-tasker and so when I’m editing videos, I’m usually responding to comments or working on my eBay store at the same time.

Most days, I play guitar and sing for half an hour or so, too. I try to do that before 9 PM out of consideration to my neighbours, and I just pick out whatever I feel like playing from a huge list of cheat sheets. Sometimes I cover other bands, and sometimes I play songs that I wrote myself.

Because I’m a workaholic, I’ll basically keep at it for as long as I can stay awake. Most days, I’ll work until about 2 or 3 AM, doing a mixture of my freelance work and trying to crack on with my work in progress.

There are some exceptions to this schedule, but it really depends. At the weekend, I sometimes perform my music at open mic nights or play with my band, The Ilk. I hang out with my friends from time to time as well, although given that most of my friends are members of the local music scene, I mostly just see them at concerts.

Bedtime
Once it’s time for me to go to bed, I put Peep Show on the TV and cuddle up with my cat (Biggie). I normally multi-task by practicing languages on Duolingo while simultaneously reading a bedtime book, which is my name for a book that I read a book at a time each evening. They’re usually books like collections of letters that I don’t find interesting enough for them to be my main read.

Unfortunately, I’m a serial insomniac, perhaps because I never stop working. I quite often find that I can’t sleep, in which case I get back up and do another loop of productivity before trying again. Perhaps it’s no wonder that my sleep is so screwed.

My life might not sound particularly exciting, and perhaps it isn’t. That’s the reality of being a writer, especially when you’re trying to make a name for yourself and to break through in a competitive industry.

Becoming one of the 0.1% of writers who’s able to make a living takes three things: talent, hard work and a little bit of luck. I’m in my early thirties at the moment and so I still have the energy it takes to work 80-hour weeks, but I won’t be able to do that forever.

That’s part of the reason why I’ve been working so hard since the start of the pandemic. The goal is to front-load as much as possible, putting in the hours now so that I can start to scale back over the next ten years or so. It’s a long-term plan, but I’m getting there.

Oh, and did I mention that if you buy one of my books, you’ll be helping me to live the dream?

by Dane Cobain
Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal at his suburban practice. His job is to keep the animals alive for long enough to get them to slaughter. But there are rumours of a strange creature living beneath the complex, accidents waiting to happen on brutal production lines and the threat of zoonotic disease from the pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and fish that the complex houses. Suddenly, disaster rocks Sunnyvale and cleaners, butchers, security guards and clerical staff alike must come together under the ruthless leadership of CEO John MacDonald. Together, they’ll learn what happens when there’s a sudden change to the food chain. Bon appétit.


About the Author:
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, UK) is a published author, freelance writer and (occasional) poet and musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia.

His releases include No Rest for the Wicked (supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) Former.ly (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House (horror), Subject Verb Object (anthology), Driven (crime/detective), The Tower Hill Terror (crime/detective), Meat (horror), Scarlet Sins (short stories), The Lexicologist’s Handbook (non-fiction) and The Leipfold Files (crime/detective).

His short stories have also been anthologised in Local Haunts (ed. R. Saint Clare), We’re Not Home (ed. Cam Wolfe), Served Cold (ed. R. Saint Clare and Steve Donoghue) and Eccentric Circles (ed. Cynthia Brackett-Vincent).

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