Since people found out that I’m a writer, they’ve been asking me a lot of questions — how did you do it? What made you want to write? Is such-and-such character based on so-and-so? How are you still working a day job? Which almost always leads to the question, What does a typical day look like for you? And to my astonishment, a number of people want to know what it’s like in excruciating detail. Why, exactly, I’m not sure. Maybe they’re curious about how much time is involved in writing a book to see if they can pull it off, too (we’re all closet writers, aren’t we?). Maybe they’re wondering if there’s a secret to time management. Maybe they’re simply inquisitive. Maybe one day, I should ask. If I had to guess though, I think that a lot of people simply share my own draw to a quick trip into someone’s life and head, which is why I love the Proust Questionnaires in Vanity Fair and the Pivot questions that James Lipton asks his guests at the end of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Some time ago, there was an article in Time magazine that showcased what ten families from ten different countries ate for dinner, pictures and all. I was obscenely fascinated. So, in celebration of curiosity and unadulterated narcissism, here’s what my writing days (let’s do weekdays) usually look like, give or take an errand, happy hour, nervous breakdown or two:
4 a.m. — Open eyes two hours before the alarm clock goes off. Sometimes, it’s 3:30. I don’t know why God has given me a Circadian rhythm like this. Get up, make a cereal bowl-sized cup of coffee, get on my computer, answer emails (I always, always do, if you’re wondering if yours will get a reply), play a few games of Spider Solitaire, fiddle with Facebook, listen to music (I’ve been on a Massive Attack streak as of late), read CNN, MSN, Fox News, NY Times, The Superficial, Perez Hilton and The Onion to see what’s going on in the world. By 4:30, I’m ready to roll on either my Work-In-Progress or revisions, depending on where I am in the process.
6:20 a.m. — Shower, fix face, figure out what to wear to work work, curse misbehaving hair.
7 a.m. — Wake up snoring husband, kiss him goodbye, leave for work work. Thank the sweet baby Jesus that my commute isn’t what it was when I was at the firm.
7:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. — or later. Or earlier. Try not to screw up too badly as an in-house lawyer. Defend The Man against lawsuits and other nefarious happenings.
6 p.m.-7 p.m. — back at home. If husband is there, debate what to do for dinner (“What do you want to eat?” “I don’t know.” “What do you want to eat?” “I don’t know.” Repeat for next 15 minutes).
7:01 p.m.-10:30 p.m. — write, play on FB, play Spider Solitaire and music, respond to work emails if important, eat if dinner vacillation has taken longer than usual.
11 p.m. — write if creative juices are still flowing (Internet will be shut down at this point so as not to attract my goldfish-esque attention). If not flowing, as is often the case, then catch up on all the TV we’ve DVR’d and fret over word glut and deadlines.
Sometime after that — go to bed. Consider ramifications of a single REM cycle on memory and sanity.
So, there you have it. Weekends are about the same, but without the day job, and every once in a blue moon, I'll conk out for an embarrassingly, possibly worrisome, long time (somewhere between 5 and 14 hours). Now, before you think that I have no friends and that my husband is about to file divorce papers for spousal abandonment, I do have friends, and I’ve been reassured that no proceedings are about to take place. Lucky for me, my friends and husband have about as much going on in their own lives. Lucky for them, I’m pretty good about knowing when to shut down the maddening, obsessive hole-myself-up-in-my-office-like-a-hibernating-bear mode and spend time with them. If there’s an event that’s important to them, I’m there. If they need me to lend an ear, I’m there. If my husband just wants to lounge on the couch for a while and watch TV with me, I’m there. My days are long for a purpose that’s extraordinarily important to me, but I also know that at the end of the day, it’s all for nothing if I can’t share it with the people that matter most.
Until the next one!