A Week in the Life (7 Days Behind the Scenes with Savannah)
In today’s episode, I’m going something a little different than normal. I’m going to take you behind-the-scenes with me throughout my entire week, and I’m going to share with you what I’m working on, what big projects I’m focused on right now, and basically, anything that happens during the week. Including any fun or interesting insights that comes up as I work with other writers.
The reason I wanted to do an episode like this is because I don't know about you, but I'm always curious as to how people set up their day and what they're working on and how they choose what they're going to actually work on that week. And so sometimes on Instagram, I‘ll see people post things like, “Okay, here's what I'm working on today or here’s how I set up my planner or manage my calendar,” and I'm always intrigued.
So, I thought you might be curious to know what I do all day as an editor and book coach—what I focus on and how I navigate through many, many, many action items. So, that’s what this episode is all about, and I’m not really sure how it’s going to go or if you will find this interesting, but we’ll see! So, dive right in for a Sunday update.
A Week in the Life: 7 Days Behind the Scenes with Savannah
Okay, so, this is my first entry for our behind-the-scenes podcast episode, and it’s Sunday evening, which is when I normally sit down with my planner and take a look at everything I have coming up this week. But before we dig into that, I wanted to tell you that I did something really fun today. It’s one of my dog’s birthdays today—Forrest turned two—and we rented out the pool at this boarding facility nearby to have a dog birthday party. And it was so fun because we had about 15 dogs there (including Forrest’s dog dad), and every dog that came to the party is related to Forrest. So, some are his littermates and others have the same parents, but they’re from a different litter. So, that was really, really fun. And yes, I know I’m a dork about my dogs, but I don’t care. They’re wonderful and they deserve the most awesome experiences in life. So, that’s what we did earlier today, and now all three of them are napping hard. Which brings me back to planning out my week.
I have a lot of big things to get done this week, and that’s part of why I like to map my week out on Sunday evenings. I like to know what’s coming down the pipeline and I like to make sure I have enough time to get everything done. And if I don’t, then I can take care of that first thing Monday morning, so moving things around if I need to and stuff like that. But I try not to do that too often if I can help it. So, this week, I need to finish recording some lessons for my Notes to Novel course. I need to record some podcast episodes. I have to finish a manuscript evaluation for one of my clients and have coaching calls with other clients. I need to debrief the book club meeting we had last week—so, I like to go through the feedback people send out and see what they liked or didn’t like and then download my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t work while it’s all fresh in my head. This just helps me make our book club better for the next meeting, so it’s really important to do and I’m looking forward to going through all of the feedback that people sent in. Then on Thursday, I have two group calls, so one of them is a Q&A call with the students in my Notes to Novel course and the other is a Q&A with the writers who are in my Story Lab membership. And I’ll talk more about those on Thursday. I also need to record a bonus training for my Notes to Novel course, too. So, lots of recording this week—which in hindsight, that makes sense because I tend to group things together like this. So, if I have a big recording week or a week where I have to do a lot of video or presentations or things like that, I’ll usually give myself an easier week the following week because I am an introvert through and through so I need time to recharge my batteries.
So, anyway, those are kind of my big projects, and then I have a whole bunch of other little things that I have to do like answer emails, get some of my tax stuff ready, setting up some Facebook ads for my latest masterclass, and I usually work on my client’s pages throughout the week, too. So, I look at all of this stuff on Sunday just to make sure I know what’s coming and to mentally prepare and things like that. And yeah, that’s my Sunday update! So, wish me luck—I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get most of my to do list done, especially since I’m taking you along with me, but things always seem to come up, so we’ll just see what happens. So, anyway, I will be back tomorrow morning to tell you what I have going on on Monday.
Hi there, it’s Monday morning and I have a busy, busy day today but so far, I’m feeling pretty good about getting things done. We all slept hard after the big, exciting doggie birthday party yesterday, so I’m ready to go—and the dogs are still pretty tired today, which is great because I have a lot of recording to do.
So, that’s what today looks like. I am going to record three lessons for one of the modules inside of my Notes to Novel course, and I’m actually really excited about this because the whole program just got a makeover and almost everything has been updated and re-recorded. And the cool thing is that once you are part of the Notes to Novel program, you always get the updated version of the course. So, I’m really excited to share all of the new stuff with my existing students and all of my new students, too. So, that’s one thing I have to do today.
The other thing I have to do is record one podcast episode and outline three other ones. So, you might not know this, but I like to batch record my podcast episodes—and that’s mostly because there are some weeks where I wouldn’t be able to put out a new episode if I was recording week to week. But also, there are some weeks where I just get really excited about recording episodes and my energy is high, so I like to lean into that. Because I know that I’m also going to have low energy weeks, too. And this is something I’ve really been tracking over the last twelve months because I noticed that my energy levels really do fluctuate through the month, so instead of beating myself up for not getting as much done during a low energy week, I now just schedule low energy activities and it works out much better. So, if you haven’t ever tried anything like that—or if you haven’t ever tracked your energy—give it a shot! You might be surprised at what you learn or how much of a pattern you actually operate on. So, anyway, I’m going to record one episode and edit that episode and then I’m going to outline three more.
Other than that, I need to go through and respond to my emails because it’s Monday and there are always a lot of emails, and I need to take the pups on a walk whenever they’re done napping, and I also need to get some Facebook ads scheduled. And Facebook ads are something I’m not very good at yet, so those are going to take me a little while to get all set up. But anyway, that’s what my Monday looks like. I will be back this evening to give you a quick update, so I’ll talk to you then.
Okay, I’m back and it’s Monday evening now. And I’m happy to report that I pretty much got done what I needed to do today, so that’s great. I don’t do any client work or client calls on Monday because I usually set aside the whole day for bigger projects like the podcast or something to do with one of my courses or things like that. So, this was one of those days where I needed to get a lot of those bigger things done, and I did, so that feels good. Now, tomorrow will be dedicated to getting client work done (and this is typical of most Tuesdays)—so, you’ll see what I mean when I do my morning update tomorrow. I like to do different types of work on different days because otherwise, if i’m doing little bits of everything, it just feels too hectic. Sometimes that does happen, and it is what it is, but when I can, I like to dedicate whole days or even half of days to a certain type of work. But anyway, for today, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at. Now it’s time for walking the dogs and dinner and stuff like that, so I will sign off for today and be back first thing tomorrow. I’ll talk to you then!
Good morning, it’s Tuesday now, and I’m checking in to share what I have going on today. So, yesterday, I mentioned that today is all about client work, and that’s really the majority of what I’ll be working on. So, first, I have to finish up a manuscript evaluation for a client of mine, and then I have to read through a few scenes and give feedback on those scenes for a few other clients because we have coaching calls coming up this week. I also need to reach out to Abigail who you have heard on this podcast before and we run the book club together… I need to reach out to her because we need to talk through our picks for the next book club meeting in March. So, I think I’ll leave my morning update at that and then I’ll be back later to let you know how it goes and to share anything interesting that happened during the day. So, I’ll talk to you then.
Okay, so it’s Tuesday evening now and I’m about to wrap up my workday, but I wanted to check in and share how everything went. So, first of all, I did not finish up everything I needed to do for the manuscript evaluation I’m working on, but I did make a good amount of progress, so that’s okay. I can finish it up tomorrow. But here’s something interesting I wrote down in my notes while working on that manuscript evaluation… Basically, I’ve noticed that sometimes writers who write a story with multiple POV characters will have trouble with one of their POVs—and it’s usually the character they most relate to, so usually the character that’s the same gender that the writer is or that’s the same age or whatever—really, whichever character the author has put more of themselves into. So, I’ve noticed this with enough authors at this point that it’s definitely “a thing” and it’s really interesting to me. It’s almost like writers have a harder time putting the character they most relate to through conflict and, like, tapping into that character’s inner emotional life, but they don’t have as hard of a time putting their other POV character through conflict or showing their thoughts and feelings on the page, and things like that. So, I don’t know—if you can relate to what I’m saying, just know you’re not alone, it’s something I see quite often.
The other thing I wrote down to mention to you today is that, I was working on a set of scenes for another client who I have a coaching call with tomorrow and we’re about halfway through the re-writes of her draft at this point. So, I noticed that her scenes were suddenly feeling a lot stronger than they had in previous weeks. And what’s interesting is that the first time she got to this place in her draft, let’s just call it scene fifteen or whatever—so, the first time she got to scene 15, she told me she felt like things were getting easier because she had internalized everything we’d been working on for the last fourteen scenes and now she was integrating everything she learned into her new scenes… So, anyway, the second half of her first draft was much stronger than the first half. And now that we’re coming back around to that section of her story, it’s pretty cool to see. It’s almost like the first half of her draft was a first draft, and now it’s become a second draft. But the second half of her story was already second draft quality and now it’s becoming third draft quality. And I don’t know if I’m explaining that well, but I see this happen a lot. So, what will probably happen is this author will have a draft that is stronger on the back end than the front end–and if that’s the case, we’ll probably just go back to the front half and spend some extra time there before moving to the next stage. So, I wanted to share this because a) I think it’s interesting, but also b) because it might be happening to you, too, and I want you to know it’s normal. So anyway, just a fun little behind-the-scenes tidbit.
Now, something else I did today was I looked at the stats for the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast in 2022. So, at the end of the year, I like to pull all the stats for this podcast just to see how things are going and how our listener count compares to last year and things like that… But one of the really interesting things I found while pulling this information today is that we have many, many listeners in Australia—so, Buzzsprout, who is my podcast host, they provide me a list of the top cities where our listeners live, and get this… Sydney Australia and Melbourne Australia represent the top two cities where listeners download episodes. Following that is Chicago and Los Angeles both in the United States. So, I thought that was so interesting… and if you’re in Australia, I would love to hear from you! Come find me on Instagram @savannah.gilbo or leave me a review letting me know you’re a listener from Australia and what you like about the show or what kind of book you’re writing… I think that’s so fun that this podcast has listeners over there—I have actually been to both Sydney and Melbourne and I had a really great time in both cities. So, shout out to all of my listeners there.
So, that’s my Tuesday update. Lots of client work today, but that’s pretty typical of a Tuesday, so nothing too surprising for me there. Tomorrow, I have a coaching call with one of my clients and then I’m recording a podcast interview as well as doing more client work and some other little things here and there. So, I’m going to sign off and go walk the dogs, but I will be back tomorrow morning for a Wednesday update, so I will talk to you then!
Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m here for our morning check in. And today I have a few different things going on. First, I have a call with one of my 1:1 coaching clients, and then I am going to record a podcast interview with another one of my clients after that, so those are the two big things I have to tackle this morning.
After that, I am going to review the questions that came in for two Q&A calls that I have tomorrow. One of them is for my Notes to Noel students, so, if you are currently in the Notes to Novel program, I will see you tomorrow for an hour long Q&A. And the other Q&A I’m doing tomorrow is for my membership. So, for those of you who don’t know, I have a membership that writers get invited into once they’ve taken my Notes to Novel course, and it’s called The Story Lab. So, basically, inside of that membership, there are different weekly deliverables… In the first week of the month, there’s an hour long training on a different writing topic. In the second week of the month, we have group coaching where I pick 3-5 writers to come on camera with me and talk through whatever’s got them stuck, or maybe we’ll go through a scene to talk through what could be improved, or anything like that. In the third week, we look at a scene together from either a published novel or a work in progress novel and pick it apart to see the structure, and what’s working or not working, and things like that. And then in the fourth week of the month, we have a Q&A session. So, I jump on Zoom with all of my Story Lab members and we do an hour long Q&A. So, I have to get ready for both of those tomorrow, but that sholdn’’t take too too long.
After that, I’m going to finish up that manuscript evaluation that I did not finish yesterday, so I need to get that done. And then I have some client feedback to do because I have client calls on Thursday and Friday.
So, once all of that is done, if I have time left over, I might edit some of the podcast episodes I recorded yesterday or I might get sucked into emails… I’m not sure yet, but we will see and I will be back later to check in and let you know how things went!
Okay, I’m back for a quick update. It’s Wednesday evening now and I pretty much got done what I wanted to do today… I feel like there is always so much on my to do list, but it really helps to prioritize the 3-5 big things that need to get done and then kind of filter everything else in around those 3-5 big projects, so that’s kind of what I do. Both of my calls went great this morning and I’m very excited about the upcoming student spotlight episode—you will hear that episode on Valentine’s Day and it’s a really fun one. It was neat to look back on this writer’s experience because she’s come a long way in the two years we’ve worked together and I’m so incredibly proud of all the work she’s done. So, I won’t spoil it for you since it’ll be out soon, but anyway, it went really well.
I was able to finish the manuscript evaluation and send that off to that writer, so that was great. And I’m looking forward to discussing the feedback with her because this her story is actually in pretty good condition so I think she will be pleased to hear that, but I think she’ll also be glad to have some direction around what she can still improve upon. So, that project is done for now. And I got my other client work done, so that’s great.
The other thing I did today was I had to write some emails for an event I’m speaking at coming up at the end of February. So, I will be speaking at ProWritingAid’s Fantasy Writers’ Week again this year and I’m so excited because their events are always amazing and they tend to have really awesome speakers, so I can’t wait to both present something AND tune into the other talks as well. But I had to do some admin stuff around that like craft those emails (which you will receive soon if you’re on my email list) and confirm my presentation topic and you know, things like that.
I also put together a slide deck for a bonus training that my Notes to Novel members will be receiving soon, so this training is my Next Steps DIY Story Editing Workshop and it’s an hour long training about what to do first, second, and third once your first draft is finished. So, it will walk them throught the different stages of editing and help my students know what to focus on when. So, I made that slide deck and there are a ton of examples in there, and now I just need to find some time to record it by the end of the month. So, I was glad to get that going and mostly finished today.
And other than some emails and boring tax prep stuff, that was kind of my whole day! Now, something you might not know about me is that I actually make my dog’s food, so that is what I’m going to do right now, and then I will probably take them on a walk while it cooks in the Instapot, or maybe after, I’m not sure yet. But yeah, I basically make two week’s worth of food every other week, so that’s what I’m going to do—and yes, i know they are spoiled, they eat like kings and queens, but that’s because they are worth it. If you’re curious what I make them I follow a nutritionally balanced recipe from a company called Just Food for Dogs, so you can Google them and check it out if you have dogs or cats—I think they make cat food, too. But they have these DIY kits and nutrition blends that you basically mix with the real food that you cook. So, I’m going to go make them their extra special turkey macaroni food and I will catch up with you again tomorrow morning! Talk to you then.
Good morning, it’s now Thursday and I’m really excited for what I have on the calendar today. So, I mentioned this yesterday that I had two live Q&A sessions to today—one for my Notes to Novel students and the other for my Story Lab members—and I am really looking forward to these. I love seeing all of my students and I love hearing all of their updates about how their writing is going and I love answering their questions or helping them brainstorm or get unstuck… it’s just so much fun. So, I have two of those calls today and then inbetween those calls, I’m going to catch up on client work and some miscellaneous admin stuff that I need to get done. So, that’s really all I have for you this morning… I’ll be back later today to let you know how everything went.
Okay, I’m back! It’s Thursday evening now and I am actually quite exhausted. I developed a migraine shortly after doing my morning update, so that has been lingering all day—and if you get migraines, you know how hard they make it to get work done, so that has been a bit of a battle for me today. But I wanted to come on and do a quick update to tell you about some of the things we talked about during my Q&A’s today. First, one of my students brought up the topic of writing from multiple points of view, and she was asking if she should include another POV and/or her antagonist’s POV. And I wanted to share a little bit about what we talked about today because it’s something I think we should all consider when writing our own stories. So, basically, I asked her why she wanted to include her antagonist’s POV or how that would benefit the reader, and she said she hadn’t thought about it like that yet. So, then I said, okay well do you want your reader to know more than your protagonist knows? Because if you show your antagonist’s POV, the reader will know more than the protagonist, right? And if so, that will evoke a different feeling or give readers a different experience than if they know the same amount as your protagonist. So, in other words, if your readers knows as much as your protagonist knows, the reader will likely be curious about how things will turn out—they’ll feel anticipation because they don’t know what’s coming. But if they know certain things from your antagonist’s POV that your protagonist doesn’t know, well, then that evokes a different feeling—usually one of concern, right? Because we now know more than the protagonist so we worry and feel concerned for them for when they inevitably find out what we know. So, anyway, I think taking a few minutes to consider how you want your reader to experience your story is a really great exercise.
Something else that came up was the idea of, like, what do you do if your life is actually going through a busy season? How do you force yourself to get your writing done? And this is a good question because we all have busy weeks or months or seasons. And what I’ve noticed is that we all tend to force ourselves to “do all the things,” when really, it’s just not realistic. So, with this particular writer, we talked about what would happen if he just took the next month off from his writing or what if he just had zero expectations of what he would or wouldn’t get done? Or what if instead of having a strict goal of something to do with writing x-amount of scenes or words, what if he gave himself permission to just do creative exercises like journal from his character’s POV or maybe even some admin tasks like updating his outline to match the scenes he’s already written or something like that. So, I wanted to share this with you because if you’re in a busy season of life, it’s totally okay to not be as productive as normal. And it’s not always a bad thing to take a break from producing new scenes or words—sometimes it’s actually good for our creativity to get a little white space. So, I don’t know if this resonates with you, but I think sometimes it’s hard to give ourselves permission to take it easy when life gets busy—and I think collectively we might want to be a little bit easier on ourselves because sometimes you really can’t do it all and stay sane.
So, anyway, those are just some things I wanted to highlight from my two Q&A calls this morning. Both calls were so much fun and my students always ask excellent questions, so I always have a wonderful time talking to them. So, shout out to all my Notes to Novel students and my Story Lab members—hanging out with you tends to be the highlight of my week, so thank you for showing up and always making things so fun!
Now, tomorrow, I have two client calls and then I usually use the second half of Friday to catch up on admin stuff or any tasks that I haven’t gotten done throughout the week, so other than my calls, I’m not 100% sure what I’ll do tomorrow afternoon, and if I’m being honest, my migraine does not want me to even go there today, so I’m just going to sign off for now and I’ll be back tomorrow with my Friday update. Talk to you then!
Good morning! It’s finally Friday and I’m about to get on two client calls, so my morning update is going to be really quick! Like I mentioned yesterday, I have these two calls and then I’m going to catch up on some other things, so I will be back to update you on what those things look like this afternoon! Talk to you then!
Okay, it’s Friday evening now and I’m just about wrapped up for the week. Other than my two calls this morning, I had a few sets of pages that I needed to review and provide feedback on for some clients. And then I was able to edit another podcast episode that I recorded earlier in the week and record half of the bonus training for my Notes to Novel program. So, very excited about that. And speaking of exciting, I also got one of my client’s books in the mail today and that was such a fun surprise—it’s always such a happy day to get the physical book that you know someone has poured months or years of blood, sweat, and tears into and actually hold it in your hands. So, that was very cool and naturally, I had to take photos of his book next to my dogs because he is a dog lover, too, so I took some photos and sent them to him so he could see that the book made it here and yeah, it was very exciting and fun.
Now, this weekend, I am going to finish up reading a book that Abigail and I are considering for our next book club meeting—and I won’t give away the title, but we really want to do a mystery or thriller for our upcoming meeting in March, so stay tuned for the book we pick, we’re going to announce that soon. But I’m really looking forward to finishing that up because I’m almost at the global climax of the story and I’ve been thinking about it all day. We also have some plans to take the dogs to this big dog park and we’re going to meet their dog brothers there, so that will be really fun, but yeah, I’m looking forward to this weekend and just taking a few days to decompress, get some stuff done around the house, and spend time with my dogs—very exciting, I know. I planned to do a Saturday update, too, but I think I’ll just go ahead and wrap it up here.
One more thing I do want to say before I officially wrap up is that I did not get every single little thing done on my to do list this week. So, for example, I wanted to record and edit the bonus training for my Notes to Novel course, but I only got halfway through recording it. That’s okay—I will just push it to next week, and like I did at the beginning of this episode, I will review everything I didn’t get done this week—along with what I have to do next week—on Sunday and just make a plan to get everything done. So, it is an ongoing process and things always do come up—I got a terrible migraine this week that definitely prevented me from getting as much done as I normally would, but it is what it is. I definitely got a lot done this week, but I’m a perfectionist, so I sure do wish I could have everything checked off the list, but that’s just not realistic. So, anyway, I just want to be totally transparent because there’s hardly ever a week where I get every single thing on my to do list done, but I do try my best and that’s what counts, right?
So, that is the end of the “week in the life” episode, and I hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride this week—I know I sure had fun. I got to share some things with you that I typically don’t get to talk about on this podcast because I’m normally talking about how to write or edit or publish a book, and it was just fun taking you behind the scenes with me and sharing some of the things I don’t get to talk about much. So, I hope you enjoyed the journey with me and I will be back next week with another new episode, so I’ll talk to you then.