30 July 2013

A day in the life of a writer


by Kelly DeBie

This month, we are supposed to be sharing our writing routines and habits with you all.  As a blogger with four kids, I absolutely have to have structure to my day in order to get anything done, let alone sit down and have uninterrupted time to write.

As I write this now, I am sitting alone in the living room after having sent off my youngest daughter to summer school. All the rest of the kids are still asleep, as has become the norm around here this summer. They sleep in, I peck away at the keyboard. It works, and I'm not asking any questions right now.

I thought I might share with you today how being a writer works, at least in my universe, on any given day. I'll have to warn you though, I very much have adult ADD and get distracted easily. Try and keep up.

3:30 a.m. - Wake up. Stare at the ceiling for a good long time. Struggle to go back to sleep because mind is racing so much. Tell self that you will write down that wicked plot summary that you just dreamt of when you get up in the morning. Yawn. 

4:30 a.m. - Repeat. Forget whatever awesome story you thought up an hour ago.

6:45 a.m. - Alarm goes off, hit snooze button every five minutes for at least half an hour.

7:15 a.m. - Hook up coffee IV.  Do dishes. Check dryer. Make mental note of the day of the week, what you have to write about, and whether anything is started yet.

Good morning, beautiful.
7:45 a.m. - Feed small humans, attend to their needs, shuttle them to and fro. Refill coffee.

9:30 a.m. - Take a deep breath and open the laptop. Check Facebook page, write some witty status update, send daily birthday wishes, open Blogger, check for comments, start new post. Stare at blank screen. Refill coffee.

10:00 a.m. - Depending on which day of the week it is, I'm either researching things, writing, ranting, creating a million hyperlinks or still staring at a blank screen. Tuesday is my designated rant day, appropriately titled Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday. Thursday is Nerdsday, where I write about something geeky I love. Fridays are for fiction when that group is going, which is on a summer sabbatical right now. I intended to run my Wonder(ful) Women series on Fridays instead, but got distracted by something shiny last week, so it ran Monday instead. 

10:30 a.m. - peck, peck, peck, peck. Finish pot of cold coffee. Think of something totally unrelated, but profound to write about later, add that to running topic list. Start three different posts before finishing the one you are supposed to be writing. Add a few paragraphs to current book chapter.

11:00 a.m. - Post for the day is usually published by now unless something else came up in the meantime. Which it usually does. Find news articles to write about, add to running topic list. Squirrel!

11:30 a.m. - Schedule status updates on Facebook for the rest of the day, share post, log off. Remember something, log back on. Shiny! Log off. See something on news, text it to self.

12:00 p.m. - Feed small humans, attend to needs, shuttle to and fro. Witness something insane, write about it on napkin in car.

1:00 p.m. - Read for an hour with the kids. Right now, we are doing a 12 week summer reading challenge, where we read the book first, then watch the movie version when we are done. This week, we are on To Kill A Mockingbird. Geek out for a while over reading favorite book, talk about notions of justice and inequality with oldest child who's eyes start to glaze over eventually. 

2:00 p.m. - Sit on youngest until he naps. (not literally, of course) Enjoy the fact that he still snuggles up in lap and falls asleep there, make sure phone is within arms reach. Check for comments, write witty status update, find news story, add it to running topic list. How did writers function before mobile apps? I'm imagining lots of napkins.

4:00 p.m. - Watch news. Yell and throw things. Scribble notes down on whatever paper is nearby with whatever writing instrument is available. It's usually an envelope and a crayon, by the way, and almost always gets lost, spilled on or thrown away before you can get back to it.

6:00 p.m. - Make dinner, do laundry, do dishes, wrangle small humans, think of some parenting issue to write about, forget it immediately, yell randomly out the window about putting pants on to at least one child.

7:00 p.m. - Sit on porch and read while kids play outside. Congratulate self on surviving another day of motherhood. Think of something witty to say, realize phone battery is dead. Forget whatever it was.

9:30 p.m. - Kids to bed. Check for comments. Get into some argument with a troll online. Give up and walk away. Add "troll fighting" to running topic list.

10:30 p.m. - Get ready for bed. Think of something great to write about. Send self a text or email.

11:54 p.m. - Actually fall asleep. Dream of plot line that you'll forget in a few hours. Repeat.

Sounds pretty glamorous, right?

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