Today on Writer Wednesday we welcome David Rawlings’, author of The Baggage Handler.
Enter below for a chance to win a copy of The Baggage Handler! Winner announced right here next week. Congratulations to, Patty Hamblin Rude, the winner of Joanne Bischof’s Daughters of Northern Shores! Please e-mail my assistant Christen with your mailing address! Note: This post contains affiliate links.
A Day in the Life
I often have people tell me what they think my writing day looks like. Their description inevitably involves a café, a laptop, and an endless supply of creativity.
They got the laptop bit right.
Usually, I take advantage of the blocks of time I have in my day between clients or meetings and invest them back into writing, either by dictating chapters and book ideas into my phone or focussing on one key scene and tightening it up while on the train. But today is different … I had shifted all my freelance work and meetings away from this day. Writing Day. Today I’ve got some clean air to fill my creative sails, but considering that I’m currently juggling three books, the wind is likely to come in bursts. And from different directions.
When you’re writing, editing and marketing on the same day, you need to wear a range of hats. In fact, with my writing workload at the moment, I wear more hats than your average hatstand.
My writing day
6:30 a.m. I woke up to a thought that was both amazing and daunting. Writing Day is here. Today I won’t need to dovetail my writing with the work that (currently) pays the bills.
6:31 a.m. checked my phone. I know this is not advised – a thousand sleep specialists, doctors, and even relationship counselors are clear on that. But my marketplace, publisher and agent are in the USA, as are most of my publicity opportunities. I’m in Australia. Our primary method of communication seems to be overnight email; it’s as if email has suddenly gone old-school and requires a postage stamp and a little extra time to cover the distance. Anything super-urgent is dealt with straight away, other messages are flagged for later.
7:30 a.m. get into it. My kids are now senior school age, so they get themselves ready and my wife works at their College, so they hitch a ride with her. The house is quiet.
First up, I take advantage of the primary window for social media posting for a US market which is quite early for me. I respond to what I need to do, write and post what I need to and schedule the rest. Then shut off social media, the greatest time sponge in the history of mankind.
The morning is the time when my emotional energy is at its highest, and so is my creativity. So I change from my marketing hat to my creative hat. This helps me bang out 3,000-4,000 words in the next three hours on Book 3. I’m a pantser trapped in a plotter’s body, so I’ve already storyboarded how the story is going to go. Some days when it’s flowing it feels more like painting in the numbers. Today is one of those days. I change some of the numbers as the characters make it pretty clear to me that my idea for this chapter isn’t where they want to go, doesn’t challenge them enough or even keep my own attention.
10:30a.m-11:00a.m. Stop writing. There’s a part of me that wishing I wouldn’t, but that’s about as far as I can push it at that rate. There’s always a feeling when I feel like I’ve stopped moving forward and my words are now simply marking time. I reach for another hat – my editing chapeau – and start editing The Camera Never Lies. Book 2. This is a key transition, but it’s something I’ve done pretty much every day during my corporate copywriting career over 25 years. I put my Book 3 storyline on hold, and reacquaint myself with another story that is a lot further down the road. And editing rather than writing helps – it somehow doesn’t feel as “creative”. Edit for another two hours. In a way, this is kind of weird. For three hours I’ve been frantically adding words to a page as the word count goes up. Now I’m searching and destroying them in a drive to get the word count down.
12:30p.m. Lunch. Talk to our greyhound, who hasn’t moved all morning and shows no signs of wanting to start now.
1:00p.m. Now that my creative side needs refreshing, I head back to the hatstand for another change of hat, this time: marketing. This is for The Baggage Handler, my debut novel and the only book of mine people can currently buy, so it’s important to keep up the momentum from the launch. Write articles for a range of blogs and online magazines. Look over some questions for an upcoming podcast. Brainstorm ideas on how I can do something a little different to stand out in the marketplace. Update my web site, plan another newsletter.
4:00p.m. Pick up the kids from school. Another hat. From a different hatstand.
4:30p.m. Make dinner and answer any homework questions which don’t require me to dredge up 30-year-old memories from high school. During this time, ideas for new stories always push through to the surface. They always appear at first to be the most brilliant synopsis anyone has ever conceived, so I write them down so I don’t lose them. (Knowing that when I review them later the sheen of enthusiasm will look very different).
Evening. Another check of social media. The primary time for an Australian marketplace is 7p.m.-9p.m. Answer questions, contribute to other people’s social media efforts, share some posts from author friends.
Then head to bed, wishing tomorrow was another Writing Day. It isn’t, so instead, I’ll need to grab those blocks of time as they become available. And I probably won’t need all the hats.
David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career, he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the every day with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.
More about The Baggage Handler
In a similar vein to The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews or Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory, The Baggage Handler is a contemporary story that explores one question: What baggage are you carrying?
“The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings is an extraordinary novel that lingered in my heart long after I finished it.”—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author of The House at Saltwater Point and the Lavender Tide series
When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.
A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.
A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding.
And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.
When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.
In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.