A Day in the Life of a Serious Author
(Based on actual events. Names were omitted to protect the annoying.)
If you are reading this, you are a writer. You know. Whether you write in your spare moments or full time, you’ve heard the comments. For some reason, those who are not writers seem to think that if you have an hour to write, it means that you sit down at the computer and type, non-stop, for an hour. The uninformed say the silliest things.
“So, you’re a writer. It must be great working from home. How nice to have all that free time.”
“How’s that book coming along? You still haven’t finished? How long have you been working on it?”
“Can you run a little errand for me? It will only take ten minutes. You have plenty of time to get it done.”
“You can dog sit for us for the next few weeks, right? It shouldn’t be more than a month. What else have you got to fill your time?”
While it is true that my schedule can be more flexible than the average nine to five workday; working from home is fraught with pitfalls and stumbling blocks to productivity. An average day often goes like this:
I get up, walk the dog, let the cats out, and begin getting the husband off to work. After breakfast and a brief discussion of the morning news, I kiss my spouse and hand him his lunch as he walks out the door. The cats come in. I feed the cats, turn off the television and turn on my laptop. After a brief run through of my email and a quick glance at FaceBook, I find that it is noon. I let the cats out, step into my shoes and walk the dog. I ignore the sink full of dirty dishes and the overflowing laundry basket because I am serious about my craft.
I open the word document that will become the novel I meant to finish two years ago. Reading through the last few pages, I find myself editing. The insistence of the meowing feline outside drags me from my chair. I let the cat in. It only takes a moment to throw in a load of clothes. (Even serious writers need clean underwear.) I get back to my desk. Staring at the blank space on the screen, I try to form the sentences to write the story I already know.
After what seems an eternity, I’ve written four words. The cat leaps onto my desk. I ignore him because I am a serious writer. I ignore him until he reaches out with his little paw to poke me. (He’s a poker.) I let the cat out. The other cat comes in. I spend another eternity staring at the blank screen. I write three sentences, delete two, write a few more, stare some more. The cat hops up on the desk knocking things about (she’s a little overweight) and proceeds to rub her
face against the corner of my laptop, shoving it a bit with each rub. I get the message. I let the cat out. Since I’m up, I move the laundry to the dryer.
I wonder, have I showered today? A quick shower revives me. I wear my daily uniform of yoga pants and a t-shirt. Since I must leave the house to run errands, I even wear a bra. I walk the dog, let the cats in, and spend the next hour jetting about completing mini-quests assigned by various family members.
While out, I run into an old co-worker. “Are you still writing that book?” She asks.
I resist the urge to flip her the finger and smile. “I’m working on it.”
Back at home, I let the cats out and feed the dog. It is now nearly three o’clock. Hubby will get home at five. I spend the next hour and a half frantically doing research. (Modern serial killers, sword making, body disposal, medieval weaving, carrot cake recipes) At 4:30, Hubby arrives home.
“Guess who got off early?” He asks. (Like I didn’t know) “I know you’re working. I won’t bother you.” He acknowledges that I am a serious author. He even closes my office door so that the television doesn’t distract me. I stare at the screen, hands poised above the keyboard, reaching for just the right phrase. I write two sentences before Hubby peeks into my office. “You won’t believe this.” He simply must show me a tweet by one of his favorite soap actors. (He’s secretly a soap fan.)
“I love him”, I keep telling myself. He retreats from my scowl. Over the next twenty minutes, I manage to pound out a few paragraphs. Hubby’s excited visage again appears in my doorway.
“You gotta see this double play.” I take a few deep breaths, trying not to think about how much lye it would take to dissolve his body. He’s not a big guy.
“Seriously?” Something about my demeanor sends him scurrying back to the living room. I try to concentrate on the words in front of me but the muse has fled. It’s almost six anyway. I throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner. After a few mind-numbing hours of television, I do the dishes. Because I am a serious writer, my mind is always on my work. Standing at the sink, elbow deep in suds, I have a great idea. Leaving my half-finished task, I retreat to my office to scribble down my ideas in a notebook. Three hours later, I can barely keep my eyes open. I’ve written almost one thousand words. Unfortunately, tomorrow I will delete nine-hundred-fifty of them. But for now, at least I’ve accomplished something.
If you’re reading this, you are a writer. You understand. Seriously.