During a recent author visit I was asked to describe a day in the life of an author. I fumbled with the answer because my schedule seems so random and probably not at all representative of the “average” writer.
I’ve been thinking about the question a lot since then and I’ve come to a surprising conclusion; I actually do have a routine…. sort of. In case the person who asked is still interested, I’ve decided to write it down.
After I get the kids on the school bus, I do whatever cleaning I have to do, as quickly as I can possibly do it (because I hate cleaning!) Then I get on my treadmill desk and start adding words to my current work in progress. I usually read what I wrote the day before but I try not to edit too much. My goal is to write for two hours straight – enough time to complete a chapter or two. When the time is up, I head for the shower (I don’t walk fast but I do cover the equivalent of over 10 km – uphill – which can work up quite a sweat!)
After lunch, I do errands, cook, bake… whatever needs to be done for my family. If there is extra time, I write website content (for this site or the Mixed-Up Files), catch up on social media, work on a book review for grade reading, do my weekly critique for In the Middle Critters (my awesome on-line critique group), organize an author visit… Some of these things have to wait until the evening, after my kids go to bed, but I try not to do them in the morning during my two hour “writing time”. And I try not to work on my manuscript in the afternoon unless it is straight research.
At the SCBWI-LA Gary Schmidt responded to this same “day in the life” question with the confession that he never writes more than 500 words a day. Because after that, the quality is just not there. I think it’s the same with my two hour rule – if I write any longer, I end up cutting more words than I keep. But it is a hard rule to follow. I find it difficult to get started (and can’t let myself be distracted by things like social media) and once I’m into my story I literally have to drag myself away!
There may not be an average day in the life of the average author, but now you (and I) know the average weekday routine for not-so-famous me. At least that was the schedule – before summer started. Now that my kids are off school, all matters of order and routine are down the drain. But maybe this post will help me get back into routine when September rolls around…
So thanks for asking! Sorry I took so long to answer.