So many times people ask me, “What exactly do you do all day as a writer?” Both children and adults alike want to know. I thought that for my blog, it might be fun to track my days now and then and just share an insight into my world as a writer. Yesterday ended up being one of those “perfect” writing days—you know—no interruptions, lots of time to really focus on a writing project, and everything on my writer’s to-do list crossed off. Of course, with adult children and no TV in the house (we just have a set in the garage we pull out now and then to watch a DVD) my time is free to spend solid hours at the keyboard. I remember those toddler/carpool/roommom/hardly-have-time-to-write days! So hey-I thought I’d start by describing what a “good” writing day is like. For my next blog that I do about my writing schedule, I’ll share what a “not-so-good” day is like. Maybe today! Today started out by cleaning up a HUGE mess from Lucy, the dog, who must not have been feeling well in the middle of the night. I’ve got a phone call to make about a writing project, a fellow writer scheduled to come over to discuss help for a project she’s working on, and the fridge is absolutely empty so I’m going to have to fix a creative meal tonight! Not that this is a “bad” day—I especially love to spend time with my writer friends and make exciting phone calls about upcoming book projects—but it promises to be a busy day with little time for writing.
Here’s how my writer’s day went yesterday. Welcome to my world!
6:00 Made breakfast and packed lunches for my husband, Jeff, and son, Ben. And of course, I had to feed Humphrey, our big orange cat (at 1 ½ years I think he’s 21 pounds now) who was racing around the house asking for his can of sardines. I fed Lucy, too, our 12-year-old dachshund mix who woke up long enough to eat breakfast before going back to sleep on the couch.
7:00 Sat at the computer to answer e-mails and update blog. E-mailed about 6 people for potential interview for short articles in parenting newsletters for Focus on the Family.
8:00 Moved to a comfy chair where I edited the first draft I wrote yesterday of a new story about Dudley the dog, an assignment for Clubhouse Jr.
8:20 Exercised for 10 minutes on my exercise machine. Since I sit so much during the day to write, this is the perfect stretch for my legs and workout for my heart. Every time I use it, I remember my neighbor—I miss her! We were always trading furniture back and forth—I think she traded me this exercise machine for a quilt comforter set I gave her for her son’s bed. She couldn’t take the machine with her when they moved back to Canada, and my son never used the comforter set so it was like new after being stored for a couple of years in our attic.
8:30 Got dressed and threw in a load of laundry. Since Wednesdays are laundry day around here, that’s what I’ll be doing all day long in between my writing commitments. Of course, Humphrey helped me—he loves laundry day and jumping in the empty clothes’ baskets and hiding under the pillowcases. But today he discovered something soft and fuzzy in the pile, so he settled down on it for a cozy nap. That item will have to wait to be put in the washer with a later load!
9:00 Researched a new publisher’s website I’ve been checking out recently. Contacted the editor with an e-mail query and sent her three ideas for potential books that looked like they might fit into the publisher’s product line.
10:00 Organized e-mails from my critique group welcoming 2 new members. Wordsmiths is now officially closed at 8 members! How exciting! Plus, sent the group details concerning our upcoming Christmas party.
10:30 Sat down to do some serious research for the next chapter in the book I’m working on right now about African American history for kids. I put on some soft listening music and plopped down on the couch to read through some books I’d ordered for this topic that arrived a couple of days ago in the mail. Pen in hand and notebook by my side, I jotted down key facts and page numbers of the book I found them on. For this particular writing project, the 2 CDs I’ve been listening to the most during these long hours of research include today’s selection: Marian Anderson: Spirituals and Wynton Marsalis: From the Plantation to the Penitentiary.
3:00 After reading through portions of various books, taking a short break for lunch, scouring the Internet for missing pieces, and digging through old research files from other projects I’ve done on this same topic, I finally could barely keep my eyes open a second longer…and took a nap. Yes. Smile. I usually take a nap every afternoon. I come from an entire family of nap takers and have fond memories of growing up and watching my dad, a dairy farmer, come in from the fields for lunch and afterwards sprawl out on the floor for his daily afternoon nap. The tradition continues! (But like Humphrey, I choose a much comfier spot.)
4:15 Up from my nap to cook dinner and spend time with Jeff and Ben who were returning from work and school.
9:00 Plugged in my ipod, got out my Bible, grabbed my journal, and sat down in my chair for a couple of hours of sweet devotion and worship. Jeff was busy grading papers, reading his Bible, and catching a few ZZZZs in his chair. Ben was busy doing homework on his laptop. The house was filled with peace. We all sat together in our livingroom—even Lucy and Humphrey were asleep on the couch next to Ben.
11:00 Headed to bed. As I was gathering up my stacks of research books from the day, I felt a little disappointed that for all the time I had spent digging for facts, I had not found just the right sources I had been looking for. I opened up two hefty volumes as I added them to my pile—and low and behold! Within five minutes I found everything I needed to go ahead and start writing about my topic tomorrow. I was so excited I could hardly fall asleep!