A Day in the Life of Swoon Author Kristen Orlando
Over the course of my life, I have had three dreams: to become a mom, to own my own business, and to be an author. I pinch myself every single day over the fact that all three dreams have come true. And, while I’m eternally grateful to see everything I’ve wished for and worked hard for come to fruition, it can be a juggling act in this household. Especially when I’m in the midst of writing or editing a book (which has been the story of my life over the last few years). So, I thought I’d give you a little peek in a day in the life of a very lucky (but sometimes very tired) entrepreneur, author and mom.
Because I’m my own boss (and my husband, who works in the radio business, doesn’t need to be at the office until mid-morning), our alarm is the sound of our 21-month-old Samantha talking to herself on the monitor. Open, mama, monkey and tiger are some of the random words that float their way into our dreams and stir us awake. We will get Sam out of her crib and begin our morning with my favorite 30 minutes of the day: the three of us under the covers and cuddling in our bed.
My husband cooks breakfast while I get Samantha dressed. I come downstairs and help her eat (she’s doing a great job with a spoon and fork, but still needs help).
Thank God for HBO Kids! We try our best to limit Sam’s screen time, but Mama needs that 30 minutes of Pinky Dinky Do and Sesame Street to drink some coffee, get laundry started, empty and load the dishwasher and answer client emails that came in over night. I own a boutique Marketing & PR agency that works with small to medium-sized businesses all over the country. I have a really small staff, so client interaction is all me! As the sole business owner, sometimes my clients’ busy schedules call for me to be “on” 24/7. I’m usually doing some form of client work from the moment I get that first jolt of caffeine until bed time. I’ve even been caught by my hubby answering emails while I brush my teeth.
Mommy and Samantha time! One of the reasons I built up my business on nights and weekends while holding down a full-time marketing gig was for this exact reason. I wanted to have flexibility and be able to spend quality mom and daughter time with my little one every day. I am so happy that I get to design my day around those moments with her. During our mornings together, I do my best to ignore my phone while Samantha and I go to music class, have play dates, go on walks, do bubbles outside, play tea party or read about 100 books. Sam is VERY into reading, which makes me so happy. (I try to explain to her that mama writes books too, but she seems unimpressed.)
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
I answer emails that came in during Mommy and Samantha time. Then I look at my to-do list to check in on projects that are launching or get ahead of projects that are looming. I always wanted to write for a living and I’m so glad I found a way to do that with my business! I craft content for my clients all day long—this includes writing social media posts, giving creative direction on website and ad design, or writing and pitching press releases to help my clients across TV and print.
Shovel in lunch while working (or occasionally catching up on one of my DVR’ed Bravo shows).
More emails, client calls and marketing work.
Every writer has their magic hours. You know, that time of the day when the words just flow easier than others. Mine has been in the afternoon when I know that my client work is somewhat taken care of for the moment, and I have a full belly. I love to write outside when it’s warm, so I’ll find a spot of sunshine (or a cozy blanket in the winter), turn on Ludovico Einaudi (my favorite composer and writing partner) and get to work. If I’m writing a new book and under a tight deadline, my goal is to write two chapters a week. My weeks generally break down like this:
- Monday: Write first half of a chapter.
- Tuesday: Finish up chapter and begin to edit that chapter.
- Wednesday: Finish editing a chapter and begin writing next chapter.
- Thursday: Write the end of second chapter.
- Friday: Edit second chapter and, if there’s time, get started on the next one.
If I’m on a roll, I’ll keep writing as long as I possibly can! But my brain kind of craps out after three hours of writing (it’s by far the most exhausting work I do all day). So, I’ll spend the rest of my workday approving client work, writing content, answering emails or chatting on the phone with clients once they finish their own busy days. If I’m really, really lucky, I squeeze in a workout (which is something I used to be religious about before a baby, but rarely have time for these days). However, it’s mostly work, work, work and a quick shower.
Bath time and family dinner. I’m very lucky that I have a husband who loves to cook (I’ve probably cooked two times in the last two years, though I do occasionally bake). While I give Sam a bath, my husband whips something yummy up and we sit down to eat as a family. I know that down the road Samantha will have sports or other extracurricular activities that will make family dinners harder, but for now, we cherish eating together and have the best time watching Samantha explore new foods. (Indian food, Thai food, Chinese food, meatballs, calamari—this kid likes it all!)
Playtime, reading time and bedtime with the babe.
Once Sam is asleep, I’m generally back on my computer doing client work, answering emails and sometimes editing whatever I’ve written that day. I’m very lucky that I have an understanding and supportive husband who sits on the couch next to me listening to music and occasionally chatting while I get some work done.
The one hour a day that I relax and either read or zone out by watching a mindless show (generally a Real Housewives of somewhere), while my husband chirps in with his hilarious commentary.
In bed falling asleep to Forensic Files. I know it sounds morbid to say I fall asleep while they show blood splatter and other gross homicide evidence, but what can I say? I find the narrator’s voice so soothing.
That’s a day in the life of little old me! I wear a few hats, juggle several balls in the air and sometimes wonder if I’m really doing anything right or well. Some days are a bit of a struggle and I feel like a failure. Some days everything comes together and I feel so accomplished—but at the end of the day, all I feel is gratitude. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to write books. Grateful to run a business and be my own boss. Grateful for snuggle and story time with bright and curious little girl. It’s a beautiful and busy life. And I don’t take a single moment of it for granted.