Since I started this blogging adventure, and especially since participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve been building my library of books on the craft of writing. I love thinking of writing as a craft -something that can be molded using the proper tools and process. In the spirit of practicing the craft, I’m declaring “Write On Wednesday’s” here at the Byline. It’s a day dedicated to whatever I’m thinking about writing in general, and my own writing in particular.
Recently, I’ve been reading Write Away, by Elizabeth George. Toward the end of the book, she addresses questions she’s often asked in her personal appearances. One of these is “What’s a typical day like for you?” What interested me about George’s description of her day was the amount of time she spent on “writer’s warm ups,” I call them. Similar to the way a musician runs scales and arpeggios before diving into a Concerto, George reads for about 15 minutes in a “great piece of literature,” noting that while writing a recent novel, she was concurrently reading Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen. She then turns to her Journal of Novel for the last novel she wrote (she keeps an ongoing journal during the time she is writing each of her novels)and reads an entry. After reading this entry, to remind herself that “whatever she’s going through now, she’s been through before,” she then creates a new entry in the journal she’s keeping for her current book. After all this prep work is done, she’s ready to work on the novel at hand.
I’m fascinated with reading about the “daily life of a writer,” and I love reading their diaries (my copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary is filled with dog-eared pages and post-it notes.)
Unfortunately, like most of us for whom writing is not a full time profession, my time at the keyboard is limited to the 20 or 30 minutes a day I’ve managed to steal from my office job and my family responsibilities. But if I could fashion my days in terms of writing being my main occupation (oh, what luxury!), they might go something like this:
Get up about 6:00, have coffee (some things must never change!) and spend about 30 minutes reading my current novel. Then write morning pages (a warm up exercise!) and spend some time in morning meditation-I’ve been trying to do this for 10 minutes on a regular basis, and sometimes I’m able focus my busy brain that long, and sometimes I’m not! Exercise would follow – bike riding, or dog walking or both. I think the combination of getting outdoors and moving the body early in the day is not only healthy, but provides creative inspiration as well.
By now, I’m ready to get to work at the keyboard, so I’d head off into my well appointed home office (fodder for another fantasy post!) I would spend some time reading/studying a book on writing, perhaps do a freewriting exercise for about 15 minutes, and then settle in to work on my next bestseller! After completing my requisite five pages before noon, I’d have the remainder of the day free to enjoy lunch with friends, take in a movie or museum exhibit, indulge in another creative hobby like music or photography, or just sit in a cafe and people watch, taking notes for interesting characters that might later appear in my novels.
Well, that was fun. How about you? If you were living the writer’s life, what would your day be like?