There’s a rugged romanticism about writers and how we live our lives. If the movies were true, we’d all be holed up in stone cottages by the seashore or nestled in rustic cabins in a rural mountain setting, wearing sweaters with holes in it and carrying around a ridiculously large mug of coffee. I assure it, none of that is true. Well, at least not for me.
When I’m writing a book, it probably would be good choice to isolate myself in that cottage or cabin because the distractions of writing from home are nothing short of…well…distracting. Life goes on around you while you are supposed to be focused one hundred and fifty percent on your characters, the story arc, and much more. Thus, a long time ago I figured out that unless I wanted my life to unravel at the seams, it was best to figure out how to create balance in my day.
But “balance” takes on a different meaning when you’re single then it does when you’re married.
When I was single and writing, a day in my life was very easy to describe. Wake up at 10:00am on the nose, exercise for thirty minutes, drink a morning smoothie, shower, spend one to two hours returning phone calls and emails, eat lunch, run short errands, be back at the house by no later than 2:30 and start writing. Take a break at 11:00pm to eat dinner (yep, that’s what I used to do), watch the news and go back to writing. Wrap it up at 3:00am, turn off the lights, go to bed….Wake up at 10:00am on the nose the next morning and repeat. Calling me a “night person” back then was akin to calling Hugh Hefner “good with the ladies”—it’s an understatement. There was something about the dead silence of the night that wrapped me in its arms and allowed me to listen to the creative muse.
But that was then and this is now. When I got married, I knew my daily writing life would change or I’d never have another conversation with my husband that didn’t begin and end with “goodnight.” As willing as I was, it wasn’t easy at first to adjust the dial on my creative muse. When a muse is used to working the nightshift, it takes her a while to get used to the daylight and generate ideas. But adjust she did and my writing days now have morphed into a much more sensible pattern.
My day usually starts between 7:30am and 8:00am. I still get in thirty minutes of exercise. If it’s winter, I jump on my mini-trampoline for fifteen minutes, go ten minutes on the elliptical and then lift some weights. After showering, and drinking my smoothie (yep, I still drink a smoothie in the morning), I walk into my home office and answer emails (which can take anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes). I then “allow” myself thirty minutes to surf the Internet. If I didn’t allow myself that time, I’d truly not know what was going on in the world since I don’t watch a lot of TV. After that, I write.
In a good day, I can easily write about five pages; on a great day, I can write as many as ten. (We writers live and breathe on our daily page counts when we are writing a book.) And when I’m on a roll, five solid pages takes about six to seven hours to write. And when I’m done with that, I call it a day. No more writing into the early morning hours. Interestingly, since I got married and did a 180 degree turnaround as to how I write, I don’t feel embraced by nighttime anymore. I’ve grown accustomed now to my revised routine and learned that the daylight—along with its buzzing, noise and energy—charges my creative juices. And I’m happy I made the change because, best of all, at the end of the day, I get to spend time with my best friend.
Laurel Dewey is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month. That means we are offering sensational deals on all of her books, including her latest release Knowing. You can learn more about it here.