Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Writer

A Caveat: This is not about a famous or best-selling author's day. A best-selling author's day always starts out by dropping the only child off at the private school, returning home in your Audi Quattro, fixing a nice cup of tea with a few scones, and then writing for three hours. After that, the rest of the day is left to enjoy. This post is about an average serious writer. Me--Average-- "C" student all my life, except for that Music Appreciation class in college. Aced it.

  • 5:55 AM. You wake up to the GD alarm clock, Sonny and Cher singing, I Got You Babe, and you say "Shit" for the first word of the day. You hit the snooze button and sleep for nine more minutes until you wake again and nudge the spouse off your side of the bed that she hogs during her REM part of sleep even though you're at the end of your mental tether with her damn annexation. You hit the off button on the radio and say "Shit" for the second word of the day. Hopefully, your prose will improve.
  • 6:15    You shower, shave, etcetera, etcetera and then stumble to your car with your banana in your hand (a real banana-shame on you) and as you back out of the driveway you realize your publisher was supposed to send you an important e-mail and they are in Oregon and you are in Florida so it probably is in your queue and came at midnight because of the three hour time difference so you go back in the house and irritate your wife  who wants to eat her Grape Nuts in peace and she knows you hate Grape Nuts but you need to get on the computer.to read your mail.
  • 6:30    You're finally away and on your 40 mile commute to Orlando so you put some Ernest Hemingway in the CD player and listen to his short simple prose that will totally affect the chapter you write later that night. All of your sentences will be succinct and active with little exposition. The problem with that is the day before you listened to Joseph O'Connor and all your writing that night was in long sentences, heavy in exposition with little dialogue. You swear if you put Dr. Suess in the CD player everything you write that night will rhyme.
  • 7:30  You arrive in Orlando and see two homeless guys asleep on a bench in front of your office building and think, wow, you could dress in a tuxedo and sit between them on the bench and use that for your bio pic in your new website. Then you come to your senses and go to your office and prepare for your endless meetings. In the first one the group discusses the merits of integrating the Bills of Material into the Gant charts and for the next hour your mind drifts to your antagonist and how he needs some compassion otherwise you'll turn off your readers and you should do the same with your protagonist because he might not be lovable enough and then someone asks you a question about the latest engineering project and you try to fake it that you were listening to them by agreeing with whatever the hell they just said.
  • 12:00 PM: During lunch you edit the last chapter your wife typed and then you start on the next one trying to remember Hemingway is dead and he can't affect you if you fight it. As your lunch hour ends, you try to clean all the Dorito red smudges off the college ruled paper you were writing on so that your wife will be able to see the words and not type ass instead of assume.
  • 4:00 PM : You get ready to leave work when you realize your administrative aide has left for the day and you have to type your own memo.
  • 4:40 PM  You finally start your commute home and write in your head the next chapter after this chapter so you won't be influenced by the next Matthew Pearl audiobook you bought.
  • 5:50 PM  You arrive home, kiss your wife as she leaves to go work out. Then you ride your bicycle for three miles, where you decide the protagonist's love interest should collect porcelain pigs.
  • 7:00 PM  You and your wife cook dinner and compete against each other by yelling out the Jeopardy answers before the other can.
  • 7:30   You retire to your writing room and write for two hours without checking Facebook, Twitter, or cute videos on You Tube. You do leave the computer on though to research train schedules, British Slang, rigor mortis and other stuff you're writing about that night.
  • 10:00 PM  You have relations with your wife by first removing (This is Blogger.com. We have censored all the content for the next four paragraphs-Thank you for your paitence) and finally you prepare for sleep. In bed, your mind races with plots and characters and publishing and editing and costs and then you check the clock and it's 2 AM. You get up and take a Advil PM.
  • 5:55 AM  You wake up to the GD alarm clock....