Friday, 14 May 2010

A not-so-typical day in the life of a writer

I know my newsletter subscribers are eagerly awaiting Part 1 in the marketing plan saga. I’m still waiting for the all-clear to post examples from a certain campaign; in the meantime I thought I’d share with you one of last week's working days.

The alarm goes off at 7.30. Went to bed after 1 a.m. and now I’m knackered. I turn onto the other side and hope the repeated alarm ringing every five minutes may malfunction for a change…it doesn’t.
Partner wakes me up half an hour later by pulling off my sleeping mask (which I call my personal blinds, BTW) and tries to lure me out of bed with the promise of a nice cuppa. I groan and get up, unable to resist the tempting call of caffeine. I’m an addict, have been for the last ten years.
After some of my partner’s burned toast, I head for my office (a desk in the heart of the living room with a nice view on the concrete block opposite from ours) when my two cats remind me they need breakfast too. I bin the contents of the still half-full bowls—some quite expensive stuff that’s all natural and supposed to taste like heaven, which, judging from my cats’ half-starved state, is a big fat lie—and open a can of tuna with white rice. I wouldn’t usually give in so easily, but I can’t deal with any drama this morning.

Finally, at 10.30, I remove the cat hairs from my desk (their favourite sleeping place), sit down and remember today’s the deadline for two major reports. Gosh, I haven’t even started. A MacBook Pro might be pretty, but with all those various functions I have yet to figure out how to use the diary. I’ve no idea how to get those done on time, but five minutes more or less won’t really make a difference, will they?

At 12.00 sharp I’m exhausted and bored to death after checking my emails, reading the online editions of various newspapers, making a shopping list, planning the meals for the next three days, but still haven’t started on the reports. So, I pop an iron supplement—after all I was anaemic as a child—in the hope it might cure my boredom—sorry—exhaustion and go about work.
An hour later I’ve an outline, but I can’t focus because I’m starved. I start wasting time until lunch and my next caffeine fix. At three I return from the kitchen, clutching another cup of coffee, turn my headphones full blast, wondering where time went. It’s 4.30 p.m. when I finally put the first finished report aside, but there’s still one more to do today. So much for my 5k writing target for the day.

At 5.40 p.m. I’m finished. Phew, no idea how I did it, but I’m proud of myself; in fact so proud I decide to reward myself with a 10-minute nice, hot bubble bath before sending off the reports. The joy of working from home! I relax with a new YA novel about bad faeries I bought a while ago, but never got round to reading it. The story isn’t that great, but I read it anyway to analyse sentence structure, variation etc. When I look at the clock it’s already 6.30 p.m. and my partner comes in to ask when I’m planning a break to have dinner. Huh? A break? Of course. I’m supposed to be working. I sigh and put the novel, I mean, my research aside and return to my desk to send off the reports. Trouble is internet’s messing up again. Thank god I’m changing providers in a week.
Ten minutes later I finally send those off and check on my writing target for the day, then cut it from 5k to 3k. I still have a few hours until going to bed, I can do it.
Dinner’s served at 7 and then I watch some cooking show I don’t really enjoy, but it’s kinda nice to switch off for a while.

By 9.00 p.m. I’m still stuck at 400 words and have no idea in which direction the plot’s moving (I usually write without outlines), but the drowsiness I’ve been feeling all day’s gone and the words finally start to flow. I’m not keen on it, but I put in a break to play with my cats, feeling bad that I barely acknowledged them throughout the day.
At midnight my partner’s going to bed, throwing me a seductive look, which I ignore, and then advising me not to stay up too late, but I’m in a writing frenzy and can’t stop just now.

I'm happy to say that not all of my days are so chaotic.

To your writing success!


  1. I've had days so busy I question my sanity. And that's when I think my hubby should be the one cooking dinner. LOL. I hope your day is much more relaxing tomorrow. P.S. I'm a caffeine addict too! : )

  2. You do have an interesting day. It kind of sounds like the day of a college student. Sigh* I miss those days.