Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a day in the life of a writer

So, yes, I write.

It's who I am and what I do. But I persist in being fascinated by how other writers work. Do they plot or just hang on for dear life? Do they write in the morning or late at night? Do they lean heavily on stimulants and depressants and chocolates? Are they constantly the deadline's bitch?

In case you're also nosy, here's what I did today:

6:14am - Wake up and realize I forgot to set the alarm for 5:18. Cuss.

6:50am - Arrive to my workout an hour late. Struggle. Sweat. Kick ass.

8:10am - Arrive home. Check email. Shower. Get dressed. Coffee. Skip breakfast. BAD GIRL.

9:30am - Drop youngest child off at preschool; husband got oldest child on bus at 6:45. Do you still call it THE CHEESE? I do.

9:45am - Arrive at fav French cafe. Indulge in a chai latte with almond milk in my favorite travel cup. Stare longingly at cupcakes and pastries but resist their siren call. Promise myself that if I reach my goal of 20 pages in a very intense first pass line edit, I can have the barbecue I'm craving for lunch. Answer emails. Get fun news from editor. Occasionally entertain myself on Twitter so that I don't go mad.

11:35am - Hit page 102 and pack up. Head to fav BBQ place, where I've been eating since I was a little kid and they got shut down for putting squirrel in the Q. Again. Eat 1/2 a sandwich and 2 slices of fried green tomato while reading BLOOD AND SILVER by my friend James R. Tuck.

12:25pm - Pick up youngest child from preschool and kiss my sanity goodbye for a while. Go home, feed the lad. Do dishes and laundry. Take 100 pounds of books off 2 downstairs bookshelves, drag them upstairs (with help), and secure them to the walls of each child's room. Vacuum and clean the empty places. Move couch, chair, and side table. Move coffee table, TV, and various gaming systems. The downstairs is now prepared for the Christmas tree. My back hurts.

2:45pm - Pick oldest child up from the bus stop. Pick up husband's dry cleaning. Go select the perfect Christmas tree. Banter with Home Depot boys as they tie it on top of my Cube. Drive very carefully. Take it inside, set it up, fluff that puppy. Discover that all but one string of lights are dead. Put those on. Add tinsely things, ornaments. Oldest child breaks a glass keepsake, commences crying. I cut myself cleaning it up and bleed all over Christmas. Things are tragical and magical, and we rejoice around the Charlie Brown tree, promising that we'll buy more lights, etc., tomorrow.

6pm - Feed children and clean up the unholy mess. Declare that I am out of blinking red bars, tag out, and close the doors of my art studio/office. Sneak upstairs for goodnight hugs and kisses.

6:30pm - Begin work on The Big Post for Cool Mom Picks. Totally rock that thang.

8:32pm - Finish Big Post and realize I haven't eaten since lunch and should probably do something about that. Fix up some fancy cheeses, the last Harry & David honeycrisp apple, a square of sea salt dark chocolate, and the next to last bit of my favorite Roussanne. Write this blog post. Put up the grown-up books I found hidden among the children's books this afternoon, including my cephalopod books, some Neil Gaiman, and the fairy tales of Herman Hess.

9:36pm - Concoct great plans about convincing every writer I know to make a post like this so I can go all voyeur on their days. Realize how much work that would be and compare it to the three deadlines currently on my plate. Quietly sigh. Finish this post. Pick up the line edits, promising myself I can sleep after 20 more pages. Do the math and realize that I have 260 more pages to do by next Wednesday, before I head out of town on a work trip. Bid farewell, again, to sanity.

12pm - Probably when I'll head upstairs for nightly ablutions, a quiet episode of Arrested Development, and sleep.

* * *

So, what's your day like?


Daniel Kenney said...

Delilah, thanks for posting a day in the life. I love hearing how other writers get it done. Right now, I have a newborn and 3 year old at home while the other kids are at school. My go to move with the newborn is to balance the bottle with my chin so I can free up 2 hands to write. And no, I don't get big blocks to write...kind of fit it in around the smoky edges of my day. Dan

AJ Sikes (aka Mitchell Brand) said...

6:10am - alarm goes off. Snooze it, because, you know.
6:15am - wife's alarm goes off, sometimes she snoozes it til 6:45, but we know better, so

most days
6:30 - up, stretch a bit, dress, make sure the wee ones are out of bed and getting started

6:45 - put the kettle on, get breakfast ready for us all while my wife handles the twins getting dressed

7:15 - kiss my wife goodbye, finish breakfast

7:30-8:00 - clean kitchen, check e-mail for URGENT news, if any, let the kids play a bit

8:00-8:30 - drop the girls at school, head home

8:30-9:30 - varies by day, but it's either turn the compost pile for some exercise, do a little sanding on the wood project in my shop, exercise the brain with calculating the next cuts I need to make on said project pieces, or, on a rare day, practice Tai Chi

9:30 - at my desk, open WIP, turn on Pandora or whichever playlist suits my mood, usually Hans Zimmer or a mix of Noir pieces

9:30-12:00 - I'm writing. This is a combination of visualizing scenes and dialogue, maybe sketching a blog post, editing and publishing posts to Doctor Fantastique's, and actually putting words into the WIP as consistently as I can. On really good days I hit 2000 words and feel like I've accomplished something. On awesome days, like yesterday, I hit nearly 4K and feel like a bit of a god. On most days, I'm lucky if I can find 700-1000 words.

12:00 - sometimes I eat lunch, but usually I just swallow water, a handful of something leftover from the night before, and then I hit the woodshop for more concentrated project work

1:45 - close up shop, pick up girls from school, bring 'em home. Quick snack, then nap time

2:30 - writing again, goofing around on Facebook or Twitter

4:00-4:30 - start dinner, which means looking at the contents of the fridge and inventing something quick.

4:30ish - girls are usually up now. Another light snack, some play time while I cook, sometimes they help in the kitchen, which is fun. And also a little crazy making.

5:30 - my wife gets home, we eat, catch up from the day, sometimes friends are over and we have a little dinner with our wine

6:00-6:30 - my wife takes the girls down for bathtime. I may go write, do more work in the woodshop, or I may read, sketch up a wood project design, or just goof off on Facebook and Twitter.

7:30 - kiss the girls goodnight, go back to reading/doing whatever I was doing

8:15-9:00 - the girls release my wife from bedtime duty and we spend our evening playing board games, reading quietly, being a couple with kids who barely see each other for more than three hours a day during the week.

10:00-11:00 we hit the hay

Sheila Hudnall said...

This post is awesome. Not that I didn't expect it to be subpar but, you know, kudos for you! Thank you, Mistress, for sharing.

Anonymous said...

10 AMish- wake up slowly.
11 - Out of bed.
Noon - at the bar for a quick martini and some eggs.
2 - Afternoon lovemaking with my wife
6 - Early light dinner.
8 - sit down with a good movie
11 - off to the bar for another light dinner and couple of martinis for hour or so
Midnight - head home for a well-deserved rest.

delilah s. dawson said...

Anonymous, you're not in Vienna anymore. And everyone knows you're frigid.