A Typical Day

Katherine Longshore 3 Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I think Donna's photo essay yesterday pretty much sums up the life of any writer.  Some days, you're dancing, and some days you feel like the kid under the bicycle.  It's one of the reasons we love what we do, isn't it?  Because it's never the same.  Every single day is different.  Some days, the muse is with us.  Some days, we stare at a blank screen.  Some days, we go to Costco.  On really bad days, I clean the bathroom.

But even on those days, I count myself lucky.

I also count myself lucky to be able to write full time.  I know many people who write only at night or wake up at 4 a.m. or grab time at the carpool line waiting for their kids, writing paragraph by paragraph in five minutes on a smart phone.  Because I am so lucky,  my typical writing day is spent like this:

6 a.m.  Alarm.  Turn on computer.  Stumble for coffee.  Check and answer e-mails.  Social media.

7 a.m.  Kids.  Breakfasts.  Pack lunches.  Make sure they brush their teeth.  Get. Them. Out. The. Door.

9 a.m.  Turn everything off.  Write.

9:05 a.m.  Turn Internet back on because I need to check the color of the Duke of Suffolk's livery.

9:10 a.m.  Check social media again.

9:11 a.m.  Post photograph of Daniel Day Lewis to the Muses (actually, this was Donna, but it could easily have been me.)

9:15 a.m.  Turn everything off.  Write.

9:20  Check e-mail.  Maybe my editor is updating me about the manuscript she's reading!

9:21  Refresh.

9:22 Refresh.

9:23  Refresh.

9:25  Turn everything off.  Write.

At this point, I can usually really buckle down and get something done.  Lately, I've been working on a revision, and I have a deadline, so it's really important for me to reach my goal every single day.  The days that I don't?  Feel like failure.

12:30  Get hungry.

1:00  Hungrier.

1:30  Getting cramps.

1:45  Reach a point where I can leave the computer and get something to eat.

1:50  Have a brainstorm and write it down on a sticky note.

1:52  Decide I have to go write.

2:20  Still hungry.  Wonder why.

2:30  Someone calls.  I make intelligent noises into the phone.  They say something innocuous like, "See you tomorrow." And I say, "Great.  Have fun."  When I get off the phone, I realize I don't know what day it is, what I'm supposed to be doing the next day and only have a vague idea of who I was talking to.  I barely know what century it is.  It's a wonderful thing to get so immersed in a WIP that you forget what day is the 4th of July, but it does make you look a little eccentric to the general population.

2:50  Notice the time.  Have to get kid from school in 10 minutes.

2:55  Great.  Still have five minutes.

3:15  Damn.  Late to pick up kid.

3:16  Check e-mail.  Just in case editor sent an update on latest WIP.

3:17  Phone rings.  It's the kid.

I try to come back to real life when my children get home.  I do the grocery shopping, go to the park, get prepped for the school open house, check homework, drive the carpool, make dinner, etc. etc. etc.  Lately, I haven't been making my goals during the day, so I let my children run wild.  I'm proud of my little scavengers.

This is typical, but like I said, every day is different.  Yesterday, I spent five hours at a junior high school, talking to seventh graders about historical fiction.  Last Friday, I drove two hours to attend a bookstore event.  Next week is crunch time--deadline.

I wouldn't have it any other way, really.  I love what I do, even when it forces me to clean the bathroom.


Yes, Katherine. This kind of day exactly. Except I have people home all day interrupting me. Or there are many times I'm working all day on presentations, talks, paperwork, or book launch stuff, promotion, etc. Or some really major research. It's stunning how much time all the rest of *being an author* takes. :-)

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