I know you’ve all been unable to concentrate on your daily lives because you simply can’t stop wondering how a writer spends his or her days.
Possibly, you’re picturing Stephen King who (according to his own words) has a nice big desk situated at a window where he overlooks the Maine scenery (and possibly sees demented clowns or rabid dogs) while clacking away at the keyboard for several hours straight.
Or maybe your imaginary writer sits at a cafe all day pounding out words lost in the oblivion of the world she’s creating and immune to that squalling baby two tables over, the guy making gross chewing noises as he eats his scone, and the two women behind her gossiping about their friend who has just gone to the toilets.
Not For Me
Sorry, neither of these situations fits me, and I imagine every writer probably has a different routine. For myself, I cannot work in a public setting. I might be able to jot down a few ideas, possibly some dialogue, but I find other humans too distracting to work amongst them (seriously, humans are too weird not to watch).
And locking myself away in an office and not emerging for hours on end? Nope, not gonna work. Remember I told you last time about my horrible eyes? Well those eyes need plenty of breaks, so hours and hours of writing just aren’t going to happen, no matter how “into” my story I am.
I’ve heard plenty of writers also like to get up at the crack of dawn and crank out thousands of words before breakfast. Nope, not me either. I have tried it, but my brain does not become fully functional until my belly has some yogurt, toast, and at least half a liter of tea inside of it, mainly because my belly is growling too loudly and drowning out any whispers of inspiration from the muses.
Yeah, so that’s what my day isn’t.
My days also aren’t consistent. There’s plenty of business stuff to do as a writer (setting up ads, writing book descriptions, maintaining the website, creating newsletters, buying wine, looking at cat videos…) and that business varies from day to day.
Except for hanging out on this newsletter with you guys, I HATE the business side of this business. I find the number of little things that must be done to be incredibly distracting, like little gremlins nibbling away at my creative neurons. As such, I like to get them off my plate as soon as possible so my little neurons can run free without fear of becoming gremlin snacks.
I’ve been trying something new the past couple of months and so far it’s working stupendously. I spend the first week of the month from dawn until quitting time doing all the major business projects (writing newsletters, setting up ads, adding to my store, creating promo graphics, submitting stories to magazines etc.). If I’m clever with my time management, I can also squeeze in the first draft of a short story during this week.
With all that big business cleared away, my brain is left feeling nearly gremlin-free for the rest of the month which is dedicated to writing, writing writing! And maybe some writing.
During these weeks, I get up (I do get up at the crack of dawn, but that’s just my own internal clock), feed the cats before they eat me alive, make tea while the cats are distracted, do a few exercises, quiet my belly monster with some food, then get the “little” business out of the way (leaving reviews on Goodreads and Bookbub, answering emails, sending out the newsletters I wrote during my Business Week, etc.).
All that out of the way, it’s time to go outside to clear my brain with a run or walk (or both). Once back home, I make more tea (there’s a lot of tea in my day) and am ready to get to work on my latest novel.
I won’t go into the exact timing, but I take a break for lunch, write some more, make more tea (or coffee just to mix things up), take an afternoon break (during which I do garden and house chores, so not exactly a “break”), and make some more tea.
By this point, I’m usually pretty sick of my novel so, unless I really need to keep at it, I might switch over to working on that month’s short story or an essay for a couple hours. After making some tea, of course.
That’s it. It’s not glamorous, but so far it’s what’s working for me. And, all that tea guarantees I have to take several breaks throughout the day…you know what I mean.
Any routines in your life? Are you more productive in the morning, afternoon, or evening? How/where do you imagine writers working? HEAD BACK to the newsletter and reply with any thoughts!