A Day in the Life of an Aspiring Writer

Standard

It’s probably a good thing that I’m an insomniac or my dream of becoming a (real) writer might just kill me. Just for kicks, I decided to keep a log of what a typical day is like for me as I juggle a full-time teaching job and a rather chatty muse.

5:10 a.m.
Wake up (providing I went to sleep in the first place).

5:11 a.m.
Move the notebooks out of the way so I don’t trip on them when I get out of bed.

5:15 a.m.
Finish reading through what I call my Midnight Notes. Then, I’ll pat myself on the back for coming up with the ideas that are worth exploring and scratch my head for the ones where I wonder what the heck I was thinking.

5:20 – 5:45 a.m.
While I’m getting dressed and combing my hair, my muse and I discuss character and story developments.  We will probably disagree instantly and this will be the first of many arguments during the day.

6:05 a.m.
Start walking to work (Yes, I walk even though I have a car and a valid driver’s license. Really.) and listen to one of many story playlists. Usually, I pick a song that relates to a plot point or character quirk I’m trying to figure out.

6:30 a.m.
Pour my morning cup of coffee and get online to make sure any scheduled blog posts have gone through.  Add necessary links to Facebook page. Answer comments, e-mails, and jot down any ideas that arose during the walk to work.

6:45 – 7:30 a.m.
Start actual day job work.

8:23 – 8:30 a.m.
Check blog stats, answer comments.  Add story ideas to notebook.

9:23 – 9:30 a.m.
Check blog stats, answer comments.  Add story ideas to notebook.

*Note: These seven minute intervals are the passing periods between the classes I teach and they will appear a few more times.

9:35 – 10:23 a.m.
Prep hour filled with grading papers, copying, and preparing for the second phase of the day.  In between tasks I check stats, answer comments, check e-mail, and add story ideas to notebook.  On days where my to-do list is clear, I will read blog subscriptions or research publishing outlets.

11:30 – 12:00 p.m.
While eating lunch, I read through subscription blogs and comment.

12:00 – 12:07 p.m.
Check stats, answer comments.

1:00 – 1:07 p.m.
Talk to the student that always arrives to class super early.

2:00 p.m.
Assess real job to-do list and stay until it gets done so I can focus solely on writing when I get home.

3:00ish – 5:00ish p.m.
Repeat morning walk routine in reverse.  My muse and I will continue our morning argument as if the span of eight hours never happened.

Write down any ideas that arose from the walk home.

Grab an afternoon snack and power nap, complete daily crossword, and watch Judge Judy (it’s a guilty pleasure and there are always really great characters)

Spend time with my husband.

6:00 p.m.
Wrap up online tasks (check stats, answer comments, read subscription blogs, update Twitter and Facebook, if needed).

6:30 p.m.
Choose writing project based on the day’s inspiration (i.e. playlist, musings, idea notebook).

Write.

On days where my muse and I can’t communicate, I’ll use my allotted writing time to research literary magazines where I can submit my work, comb through agent listings, and research query letter/synopsis formats.

7:15ish p.m.
Briefly debate cleaning up my writing desk.  Within minutes I will realize it’s just a procrastination attack.

8:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Break for dinner.

10:30 p.m.
Rub temples to soothe wordsmithing cramps.

Take a shower and discuss course of story with muse.  More arguments will ensue.

11:00 p.m.
Jot down any shower ideas and call it a day.

11:10 – 11:30ish p.m.
Read

11:30ish p.m. and beyond
Try really hard to sleep.

This is my basic day, but there are slight variations on different days of the week.

Tuesdays are basically the same except from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. I attend a writer’s group and from 4:30 p.m. until around 7:00 p.m. I write with my mother.

Thursday is appointment TV night and craft night, but lately I’ve been writing at 9:00 p.m. for at least an hour.

Friday night I head to the bookstore at around 6:30 p.m. and read for an hour before heading out to visit with family. At around 10:00 p.m. to midnight I’ll sit down to read or write, depending on my mood.

Weekends are an entirely different story.  Saturday I clean the house and start the laundry before I head to the bookstore to write for a three to five hour block.  On Sundays, I spend the morning finishing up any leftover chores before heading to the bookstore to write for another three or four hours, or until I have to head home for Sunday dinner with the in-laws.  Sunday evenings are typically kept open to relax, unless my muse says otherwise.

It’s amazing I’m still sane, (sort of). Thank goodness for little pearls of wisdom like this:


– – –

c.b. 2012

44 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of an Aspiring Writer

  1. Wow! Just reading about your day makes me tired! I am impressed with how much time during your day that you actually get to write, and a little envious. My muse and my procrastination have been having major arguments lately and procrastination usually wins, I am ashamed to admit! I admire your determination.

    Like

    • There are days when procrastination wins, but I’m so stubborn and determined to write at least a little bit each day. And my muse is relentless . . . she either talks too much or says nothing at all. Either way, I’m going to get something out of her. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. 4leafclover1343

    I wish I had that type of dedication in my trying to finish projects I have going! You don’t seem to let family distract you, which is always a problem for me. I like to write at the library at school, don’t know how you can do it in a noisy coffee shop.
    Also, was just thinking as I type, would you ever eventually give up teaching for writing?
    It will be interesting to monitor what part of the day you answer

    Like

    • Family gets plenty of time – it’s all about creating balance and mutual respect. I don’t ignore them and they give me the space I need. 🙂

      I need a little distraction when I write in public. The people around me are endless sources of inspiration. If it gets too loud I’ll listen to my iPod.

      I’ve been teaching for 11 years and I love it, but if I’d walk away if I could.

      Note: It’s lunch and I’m following my schedule perfectly! 😉

      Like

  3. Your dedication (and schedule) is very inspiring! Before I began working for myself from home, I also walked to work because I lived just 4 blocks away. They still gave me a parking pass which is where I would park my car on Sunday and keep it until Friday. It gave much such a great time to think and be quiet each morning before the daily chaos!

    Like

  4. Wow..what a schedule! I’m amazed at your dedication. I certainly am not up to the level you are. I have to grab time here and there, because while writing is still a passion for me that I’m actively pursuing, I still put other things ahead of it, like time with my husband since our work schedules are very different right now. =) Keep up the great work! You’re bound to achieve great things. You’ve already got the work ethic and sometimes I think that’s the hardest part!

    Like

    • I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I sat down and wrote it all down. I’m amazed I see my husband as much as I do!

      For a long time, I didn’t give myself the time I needed to write and I’ve always wished I never let that time get away. From here on out, there will be no more regrets or coulda, woulda, shouldas. Even when I’m busy with other things, five minutes is still enough to write something!

      Thanks so much for reading!

      Like

  5. You get a lot done in those “stolen” moments when most of us would just sit and stare at the wall. Still, your schedule wore me out just reading it. BTW I think you should take aspiring writer out and maybe just put aspiring author.

    Like

    • It’s actually more like organized chaos. The day only looks organized because its in list format. Today, for instance, dinner was flipped into the 6 p.m. time slot and I’ve started writing at 7 instead of 6. One way or another it all works out, but nothing about life is perfect (not even a writing schedule!).

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

    • Sometimes I think its just busywork until I get to the weekend, but after keeping a lot I realized I actually get a lot more done that I thought. I don’t know if its my fear of wasting time or that I simply hate being bored, but thank goodness I have a muse who feeds me wonderful words. 🙂

      Like

  6. I love stealing those spare moments between activities to ponder writing. It’s so refreshing. 🙂 Maybe I should start forcing myself to dedicate a few moments of my daily writing time to jump on WordPress. Otherwise, it always feels like I don’t get on enough (especially if one of the Wednesdays that I typically take advantage of to post and catch up on the week’s activities does’t turn out the way that I intended). I love the way that you always inspire me! 🙂

    Like

  7. I am in awe of your schedule. Mine needs to look something like that, but first I have to figure out how to function on 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Also, walking to work will not be an option, since work will be 20 miles away starting next week. I wish I could do that, though!

    (btw, I’ve been a long-time lurker, but have really been enjoying your blog!)

    Like

    • A 20 mile walk would definitely afford plenty of time for muse discussion. 🙂 And sleep is something I wish came naturally to me – I do envy those that good those 8 hours of slumber. I suppose the trick is to work with what have the best we can.

      Thanks so much for reading and leaving your thoughts. 🙂

      Like

  8. I tried to respond to this via my iPhone when it was posted…I guess it didn’t take.
    If I thought I’d admired you before, I do even more, now! You remind me of me back when I was first working to be published: full-time job, home, dinner and a quick nap, then up writing until 2 every morning. I’m lucky now to be writing full-time. Having the headspace to get a train of thought chugging has been wonderful…although it hasn’t saved me from writer-insomnia. Sleeping through the night, a consummation devoutly to be wished!
    -xo lb

    Like

    • Writer-insomia! I love it. 🙂 Maybe that’s been the problem since I was a kid!

      Come summer-time, my writing schedule goes even crazier. A full day and evening with nothing to do but write? Oh, yeah! That’s living. 🙂

      Like

    • I learned a long time ago that I can’t wait for my muse to speak – she’ll stay silent forever – but if I keep after her and never stop prodding, the words will come. 🙂

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Like

  9. Amazing. Truly amazing. Thanks for the tips/hints on how you manage your time. Great that your husband is understanding of your desire to read and write (both often solitary activities). Also great that you realize your “procrastination attack”.

    Like

    • I was lucky to find a guy who enjoys alone time as much as I do. We are both very independent people, who enjoy doing different things. If anything, at the end of the day, I’m happier to see him because I’ve had a chance to miss him. Whatever works, right? 😉

      p.s. Sometimes those procrastination attacks are a little more stealth, but I’m getting better at catching them. Lol!

      Like

    • One of my best memories in my home is the day I brought home my writing desk. I spent the whole week cleaning out the spare room to make space and then I cleaned out my bookshelves and closets that held books I no longer read and games I no longer used. I sold them all to Half Price Books and that gave me enough to buy my desk. The trade was worth it – I have a completed novel and another on the way. 🙂

      Like

  10. I can relate to the very full days…but you make it work and get alot accomplished. What surprised me the most was how often you are able to check in on blog/comments/stats/etc. Some days I don’t/can’t even check my blog e-mail which is why it takes me awhile to respond.
    I’m still at work and trying to catch up. Thanks for sharing “a day in the life”.

    Like

    • Those seven minutes in between classes needed to be useful somehow! Otherwise, I’d just be sitting there staring at an empty classroom. 🙂 I like to make the most of every moment so it doesn’t go to waste.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Like

  11. I am impressed that you have such a detailed schedule. I’m lucky if I get anything done within a certain period of time. I’d love to be a scheduled person. I think I lack the motivation, or drive. But, this is inspirational, excluding the insomnia. I am sorry about that. Try a spoonful of honey before bed. It works wonders with me.

    Like

  12. Hello C.B.

    the description of the pile of books beside your bed sound very familiar to me. Worse still, they appear to sleep on my pillows.

    It’s also comforting to know that as an aspiring writer, I’m not the only one who has problems sleeping. Yoghurt and cornflakes usually works well for me, as does cheese and biscuits. Apparently, its the lysiene in dairy products that promote sleep.

    Take care.

    Talia.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.