Many people think of writing as a romantic profession. The writer lounges outside in the sunshine, notebook and paper in hand, writing inspired poetry. The writer, fueled by coffee, hovers over the keyboard dashing off page after page of perfect prose. Somehow my life never resembles either of these pictures (except for the coffee!).
Last Friday, I kept track of “Where My Time Goes.” It’s an assignments in the creativity book, The Artist’s Way.
As a full-time mom and part-time writer, here’s the cold hard reality of where my time goes on a typical day (last Friday).
- Get up before everyone else, usually around 5 a.m.
- Get coffee and write Morning Pages per The Artist’s Way. This is part journal, part to-do list, and part working out ideas on works in progress, currently a fiction picture book and a teen novel.
- Critique fellow students’ scenes for Novel Writing class
- Review chapter book critique from an editor; consider how to revise chapter book before submitting it to agents
- Respond to questions for online book study group
- Write blog post
- Morning routine – get kids breakfast, make lunches, etc.
- Take kids to school
- Test first-graders on sight words/play first-grade librarian
- Read agent rejection email and ponder giving up for the 100th time
- Text parents of basketball team reminders about Saturday game time
- Call for information about summer reading camp for the kids
- Walk dog (Note: This doubles as pre-writing time. I work out story problems and draft chapters while I’m walking.)
- Eat lunch while reading blogs and responding to comments on my blog
- Research and write a chapter for freelance children’s book assignment
- Make chocolate chip cookies for after-school playdate
- Order pizzas for dinner
- Revise and dummy picture book
- Get wrapped up in edits and burn cookies
- Eat burned cookies to see how bad they really are
- Pick up kids from school
- Playdate, dinner with friends, kids to bed
- Read middle grade novel, The Case of the Missing Moonstone, and chapter in a biography for a potential picture book biography
When I’m on deadline my days often look very different, with up to five hours of actual fingers-on-keyboard writing time. Still, almost every day features household chores, volunteering at the kids’ school, walking or yoga, reading or writing during the boys’ sports practice. I’m sure I would be more productive without all these commitments, but I’m not sure if I would be as inspired.
Fellow writers, where does your time go?
12 thoughts on “A Typical Day”
I always have to test the burnt cookies too! Some people ask me how many hrs I spend working on PBs, and I can honestly say, whenever my mind isn’t otherwise occupied.
I’ve learned to turn off the news on the radio in the car, so I can use my driving time to think about novel scenes or picture books. There’s lots of time in the day to think if we can carve out some quiet space.
I do that already because my mind wanders. Have tried hard, but cannot listen to audio-books.
I used to listen to music or audiobooks when I walked, but no more. Now I think about my books.
This is so true Kirsten. I often get frustrated with myself about not logging enough actual writing hours. But when I consider the time spent driving the mom taxi, making meals, helping with homework, etc., etc. it always ends up being a “duh” moment.
I do some of my best writing in the “Mom taxi” and washing dishes. Ha, ha.
You are quite a busy lady. I often wonder where my day goes, and I’m not a writer. Hopefully I will find my calling soon, while managing my motherly duties.
But you are a runner! And that’s a lot of work.
I’m thinking about multitasking by baking cookies while writing. I love burnt food, so the whole batch would be mine all mine when I forget about them…. Yay!
Now if we can just figure out a way to burn the ice cream so we can have it all to ourselves. 😉
Excellent post. I think that when you have a family, a job, take classes etc., it forces you to prioritize what you want to do. I know when I worked, my schedule looked a lot like yours. And, I got a lot of things done. Now, that I’m retired and have no major commitments, it is easier to let things slip and I’m more flexible with what I do. I should be getting more things done now, but I pick and choose. Don’t know how I kept up the schedule before, but I got more done. My entire clock has changed from getting up at 5 a.m. and going to bed at 9:30. I get up around 7:30-8 a.m. and am more of a night owl.
It just sounds like you’ve slipped into your natural rhythm. I’ve always been an early bird, and I like a bit of quiet before my kids get up, which is REALLY early.