A Day in the Life of Tyler Santora

Tyler Santora is the health and science editor at Fatherly and a freelance science journalist based in Aurora, Colorado. Tyler has written for publications such as Scientific AmericanPopular Science, Nature Medicine, and many more. They enjoy writing about animals, weird science, and LGBTQ+ health, particularly transgender health. Follow Tyler on Twitter @Tara_Santora.

 

Courtesy of Tyler Santora

Tyler Santora

 

What I’m working on:

I was recently promoted to the health and science editor position at Fatherly, so I’m busy adjusting to the life of an editor and building out my freelancer roster. Most of Fatherly’s story ideas are developed in-house, so I’m busy pitching, assigning, and editing stories about men’s health and wellness, parenting, and child development. Right now, I’m specifically expanding our coverage of the science of fitness, neurodiversity in kids, and trans youth. Additionally, Fatherly was recently acquired by BDG, so we’re getting a sparkly new redesign that I’m busy prepping for.

Before my promotion, I split my time between editing for Fatherly and freelance writing and fact-checking, so I’m currently wrapping up a few projects in whatever scraps of time I can find. Most of my recent freelance work has involved writing about the transgender community, although I also write about general health/medicine and weird science. I’ll be taking a hiatus from freelancing while I get comfortable in my new role at Fatherly, but long-term I expect I’ll need to find a balance between full-time work and taking on freelance passion projects.

I hope to spend the time I otherwise would be freelancing by working on my fiction. I write YA fiction, and I’m currently querying a fantasy novel and editing a contemporary romance novel so it’s query-ready. I haven’t spent much time on either lately, so I’m excited to dive back into both manuscripts.

Where I work:

I’m based in Aurora, Colorado, where I work from home. Currently my “office” is a desk in the far corner of my apartment living room. However, lately my desk has been converted to storage space and I’ve been working from the couch because my foster puppy—a blind long-haired Chihuahua named Honey—wants to be by my side (or on my lap) at all times and will bark if she isn’t. I’m moving in late spring to elsewhere in the Denver area, and I’m hoping to rent a two-bedroom so that I can have a dedicated office space.

Daily routine:

I wake up around 7:00 a.m. to take out my dog—a black Lab mix named Damsel—and whatever foster pup I have at the time. I get my day started with breakfast, Wordle (and Quordle and Octordle), and catching up on the news. I try to dive into work by 7:30 a.m. since I’m on mountain time and most of my co-workers are on the East Coast.

What comes next depends on the particular needs of the day. Sometimes this will mean pitching stories, assigning them out, onboarding new freelancers, updating old stories, having meetings, writing my own stories, or top editing for our News section. I stop for lunch and to take my dogs out again around 1:00 p.m., then work until 3:30 p.m.

After work, I usually nap for two hours, which is both luxurious and extremely annoying because I can’t get through the day without it. It’s a habit I’m trying to break, but it’s proving difficult. Then I make dinner, clean up the apartment, and work out for two hours in my living room or my apartment complex’s gym, which I’ve just started feeling safe enough to go back to. Before bed, I hang out with my partner—she’s in medical school, so we don’t get much time to spend together these days—and read or write fiction before going to sleep around 11:00 p.m.

A laptop computer sits on a coffee table in the background. A small brown dog with a black muzzle sits in the foreground looking back in the direction of the camera.Courtesy of Tyler Santora

Foster dog Honey sits on Tyler’s lap.

Most productive part of my day:

Late morning is my prime time for getting stuff done. After I get through checking emails and the news, I finally get to dive into the editing work that requires more concentration. I lose some steam after lunch, but often I get caught up in my work and don’t end up taking lunch until the end of my workday.

Most essential ritual or habit:

I’m a self-confessed gym rat. I need to work out regularly, usually five days a week, or else stress will overcome me.

Favorite note-taking techniques/tools:

My reporting is almost always done over a phone call or video, so I transcribe while talking because it helps me concentrate and allows me to highlight things the source said that I want to return to ask about it later. I also record my interviews, usually through TapeACall, which has lost one or two recordings (another reason I transcribe as I go) but is generally reliable for me. Then I upload the recording to Otter so I can search for phrases and listen back to the recording for exact quotes.

How I keep track of my to-do list:

I used to keep a to-do list in a journal, but one journal became three, and I began to lose track of it all. I’ve recently started using the Notepad app on my computer, which has been going well so far, since I always know where my list is and I never have to worry about finding a pencil.

Essential software/apps/productivity tools:

Fatherly recently made the jump from Asana to Monday, which I’ve found to be a big improvement. Monday is great for tracking where various stories are in the editing process. I organize and edit drafts using Google Drive. My team communicates through Slack, and I’m a member of several other Slack communities. Fatherly is moving to Worksuite to track freelancers and their invoices; I haven’t begun using it yet, but it will be nice to be able to approve my freelancers’ invoices myself. Listening to music while I work keeps me focused, and I recently switched from Apple Music to Spotify.

Favorite time waster/procrastination habit:

I’m a big fan of procrastinating by cleaning. Lately, I’ve also been wrapped up in Wordle and its variations—Sedecordle is far more fun, in my opinion.

My reading habits:

My New Year’s resolution was to read for fun every day. I made it knowing that I wouldn’t really hit my daily target, but I have been managing to read most days. My Goodreads Reading Challenge is to read 25 books this year—I’m a slow reader, at least compared to my partner—although I’m on track to surpass my goal. I’m also partaking in the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I mostly read YA fiction because that’s what I write, although I’m currently reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I generally read before bed.

Does Twitter count as reading? I do that a lot too.

Sleep schedule:

I’m a great sleeper. I sleep pretty consistently from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. As I mentioned above, I usually take a depression nap during the day too. I wish I didn’t have to, but again, that’s a work in progress.

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