A Day In The Life Of Author Roger Bruner

March 10, 2015 by

A Day In The Life Of Author Roger Bruner

2014-RogerBrunerHeadshot

What is your typical writing day like?

 

My life as an author changed a lot when I retired at sixty-two to write full-time. But not the way I'd expected. I thought I'd finally get to spend eight or ten glorious hours every day writing away on the next novel and nothing else. But I'd overlooked the fact that life and responsibilities—the more pressing ones, at least—still go on after retirement. And writing would still be really hard, no matter how successfully I had the plot laid out.

 

I get up at 6:30 to fix breakfast for my wife, Kathleen, and me. I try to finish up with email while she's getting dressed. Before I can do anything else after breakfast, though, I have to shave and shower. Not to be businesslike, but because my neck itches if I don't shave, and why get cleaned up only part-way?

RogerWorking

Then I drive to Sonic to pick up my daily large diet cherry limeade, “easy ice.” It’s $.99 plus tax before 10:00. I’m normally a very economical guy. Most days that drink lasts till bedtime. I'm a sipper, not a guzzler.

 

I settle into the cozy rocking chair in the living room, pull the laptop desk within arm's reach, and trade my regular glasses for computer glasses, which have cut down a lot on the headaches I used to get by the end of the day.

 

If I haven't yet finished the first fifty pages of the draft of my WIP—my work in progress—I'm apt to go back to the very beginning and work my way up to where I left off, editing and revising as I go. That's probably why the first fifty pages of my novels are in such good shape by the time I finish the  draft.

Blossoms

But that doesn't mean they're perfect. Or even acceptable. When I showed the first couple of pages of what ended up as Found in Translation to writing teacher extraordinaire James Scott Bell, he looked them over and looked at me far too seriously. "Roger, you didn't even start with a scene."

 

What? I owned—and had read—a writing book about scenes. I knew there are different kinds of scenes, although I wasn't sure which category mine fell into. Nonetheless, Jim Bell's evaluation wasn't something to be ignored, so I ended up cutting the whole first fifty pages—my babies—and writing a new beginning. I doubt that Found in Translation would have been published if I hadn't.

 

But back to my writing day. Working my way back to where I’d left off the day before usually gives me the momentum to keep going. I don't set a word limit for myself. After all, I AM retired, and I'm not trying to support myself with my writing. It's a ministry, but not one I need to knock myself out over. Not with eight unpublished manuscripts, most of which I'd really like to see in print.

 

So I quit when I tire of writing. But not necessarily for the day.

 

I stop for a mid-morning snack and again for a little lunch. I'm apt to take a half-hour nap after that. If I don't have anything else begging for my attention, I'll get back to my writing. I break for a couple of hours as suppertime approaches, watch an old Andy Griffith Show rerun—okay, so that’s the only kind—and go with my wife to the mall to walk. The weather this winter hasn't been conducive to walking outside.

 

If things go really well in the earlier part of the day's writing, I'm apt to spend another hour or two on it after that, playing Words with Friends with my wife when I reach a temporary stopping place.

 

We normally head to bed around 9:00. My best prayer time of the day is while going to sleep.

 

Now for true confession time. That "typical day" is largely fictitious, even though it’s somewhat true. I left out the part about putting the dog outside and bringing her in (at least the yard is fenced, so I don't stay outside). And the part about trying to figure out how to better market my books; recently, that’s meant countless hours sprucing up my website.

 

And practicing my solo for the weekly nursing home ministry. Because of that service and Bible study at church that night, Wednesdays don’t fit the fictitious typical day description at all.

 

Oh, and there’s trying to think up good subjects for my two blogs for the following week. Some weeks topics come naturally, and other weeks—I don't want to talk about it! This week promises to be one of those.

 

Oh, and let’s not forget vacuuming and cutting the grass. In season only, of course. But, unfortunately, vacuuming is always in season.

PastorGusCover

And—what a horrible thing to admit—some days I just don't want to work on writing at all. But that doesn't mean I'm not at least thinking about my story and what needs to happen when. Have I mentioned that I enjoy editing and revising more than I do the actual writing of the draft?

 

In truth, I'm not sure I qualify as a typical writer. Not if I don't have typical writing days…

 

 

 

About Roger Bruner:

 

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. He sings in the church choir, plays bass guitar on the praise team, and participates in the weekly nursing home ministry. He enjoys reading, writing songs and playing his guitar, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, released in November of 2014. Two Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. He’s also published a small book of his short older works, Yesterday’s Blossoms. Eight completed novel manuscripts are waiting to be discovered by some discriminating acquisitions editor.

 

 

About your latest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus:

 

B.L.ZeBubb became the laughingstock of Heaven when he failed to win Pastor Gus Gospello's soul years earlier. He's determined to succeed this time.

Gus is obsessed with leaving a legacy—a satire making fun of B.L.ZeBubb's foolish pride. He feigns friendship with the Devil to learn back story for his novel.

When B.L.ZeBubb discovers that he's being used, he starts wrecking Gus's life in every imaginable way and ultimately tricks him into willingly signing a contract for his soul.

Gus has some tricks up his sleeve, though. But the Devil is still the Devil, and Gus has no guarantee of success. Who knows where he'll go when he dies?

 

Keep up with Roger here:

 

RogerBruner.com

AsIComeSinging.wordpress.com

OnAgingGracelessly.com

Facebook: Roger.Bruner
Twitter: @RogerBruner

Pinterest: rogerbruner
Goodreads: rogerellisbruner

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4 Comments

  1. Lisa

    I do some of my best thinking while vacuuming or mowing. Writing involves a lot of different activities than just putting words on paper! Thanks for sharing about listening to the pros, too. Always helpful.

  2. emma right

    Agree. Some of my writing includes--when I am on the bed before I doze off, while washing dishes/cooking, while driving. My head's always full of people.

  3. emma right

    Agree. Some of my writing includes--when I am on the bed before I doze off, while washing dishes/cooking, while driving. My head's always full of people.

  4. Roger Ellis Bruner

    Good thoughts, ladies. And one thing I failed to mention is that my walks with my wife frequently serve as brainstorming sessions. When something doesn't work for her, I REALLY need to rethink it. She's also a really good editor. One of these days yet, I'm going to have to list her as a co-author. *G*

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