For my “real” job, I’m a physical therapist. I work part time at the clinic, which I realize is incredibly lucky. So, on my days off from physical therapy, I write, with every intention of making this time worth it.
Here’s the writing schedule I aspire to:
5:45 The alarm goes off. I bounce out of bed, well-rested and eager to begin a brand new day.
6:00 I’m in the “gym” we’ve set up in our garage, where I get a killer work out.
7:00 I shower and get ready for the day, just as I would if I were going to work. I fix my hair, put on makeup, and wear shoes. This is a great psychological method for improving motivation and productivity.
7:45 I eat breakfast and get caught up on the major news, because it’s important to be a good, well informed citizen of the world.
8:15 I meditate to quiet my mind and allow calm and positive thoughts to center me.
8:30 I arrive at my desk and do a writing warm up exercise.
9:00 I work with enthusiasm and energy on my current project.
12:30 I suddenly realize I’m a bit hungry. I’ve been so absorbed in my writing that I don’t even realize it’s lunch time. Lunch is a random assortment of tasteless and uninspired fuel, but that’s okay, because my mind is lost in the world I’ve created, and words are flowing quicker than I can get them all down.
12:37 I’m back to writing.
2:00 I take a walk at this time to stretch my legs and neck, get some fresh air and sun, and give my mind a bit of time to ponder some things. I take a 1 ½ mile loop around our neighborhood, admiring the brightly colored flowers, enjoying the scent of orange blossoms, and feeling a general satisfaction with the writer I am becoming.
2:30 I’m back to writing. I might check some of my favorite industry blogs, or check in with Absolute Write. But mostly, I just write inspired stories of beauty and depth.
6:00 I’ve had a wonderful day and am satisfied with what I’ve accomplished. I pour myself a glass of wine and begin to make dinner. I have a relaxing evening with my husband.
Here’s what a typical day looks like lately:
5:45 The alarm goes off. I reach over to hit the snooze button, and in doing so, knock my watch onto the ground. It breaks. I hit snooze for an hour or so.
7:00 I finally drag myself out of bed and put on my work out clothes. On the way to the garage, I stop in the office to get my laptop so I can watch The Daily Show while I’m on the elliptical. As I sign on, I see that I have email, and realize that another minute cannot go by without me checking to see who has written to me and why. I check my messages. Some of them are notifications from Facebook, so I go to Facebook and end up reading everyone’s updates, seeing who has thrown what animal at me, taking a test to find out what mythical creature I am. Eventually I find myself looking at pictures of people I don’t even know. It’s 8:30.
8:30 I do my workout while watching the Daily Show. When that’s over, I surf the internet between biceps curls and squats.
9:30 I’m frakking starving, so I sit down to eat and read the paper. I get annoyed with the news and turn to Dear Abby and Ask Carolyn. I become saddened by the state of our world. I read Dilbert and get a little laugh. Then I pull out a novel to read while I finish my cereal.
10:15 The morning is half way over and I’ve accomplished nothing. I berate myself and rush to the shower.
10:45 I slip into yoga pants, an old T-shirt, and slippers. My hair begins to dry into a frizzy mess of a mane that would barely be fashionable in 1973.
11:00 I sit down at my desk and realize it’s an absolute disaster zone. I clean my desk. Which means rearranging all the piles into differently sorted piles. I sort my pen container.
11:30 It’s almost lunch time, so I might as well go online and check the industry blogs. I go online and check my email. Then I go to Facebook. Then all the world fades away and I am sucked into an internet vortex of information, bright colors, videos of kittens playing and fat men dancing, advice on the best toenail polish for your skin tone. I come to and realize I’m reading about how Paris Hilton chose the name for her dog. What’s happening to me? Where am I? It’s 1:00.
1:00 I eat quickly, because now I’m really behind. The crap food I eat instantly gives me heartburn.
1:30 I stare at either my computer screen or a blank page for 20 minutes. Then I remember that the ridges on the doorframes have not been dusted in I don’t know how long. It’s horrifyingly unclean, and I must clean them today. I do this.
2:00 I briefly consider going for a walk, but instead I take a nap on the couch.
2:30 I wake up. I decide I need a change of scenery. I walk to the coffee shop 50 yards from my front door. I ask for a mocha – not too chocolately, please! Only one little scoop! The barista glares at me and gives me an extra chocolately mocha. I sit down with my notebook and ponder whether perhaps he doesn’t like me because of my frizzy hair. I drink part of the mocha and throw the rest out. I go home and take a couple of Tums.
2:45 I examine my hair in the mirror. It’s embarrassingly frizzy. I try some product in it, then try pinning it up a few different ways. It ends up in a ponytail. I realize I’m avoiding writing.
3:00 I sit down with a blank notebook, thoroughly disgusted with myself. I manage to write half a page before I decide that my idea blows. I decide I must look up a better word for “strolled,” so I go online. I have more email. And someone on Facebook commented on someone else’s photo.
4:00 I extract myself from the internet and write another half a page, and it’s worse than pulling teeth. It’s pulling out my toenails with my teeth.
4:30 I spend a bit of time coming up with status updates for my Facebook page. I play with the wording a bit.
5:00 I consider quitting, because clearly the day is a bust. But then I decide I must write more. I stare at a blank page for thirty minutes.
5:30 I start on dinner and spend the evening irritable. I resolve to do better next time.
Yeah that sounds like life alright, in all its unwashed glory. I like your plan though and I hope you manage to get there one day.
Hah – great post 🙂 – self motivation and distraction are difficult things to manage, aren’t they?
Nice-looking blog too, btw.
Thanks for visiting and for your kind words, guys.
I like “meandered.” But I’m guessing you went with “sauntered.” And, although I knew what it means to *fight* tooth and nail, I now understand what it means to *write* tooth and nail. Very vivid, illuminating post.
Thanks, Howard! I should know to just come to you when I need a thesaurus.
I’m obsessed with the ideal writing schedule which is currently impeded by my paying day job. Yours starts waaaay to early for my sanity but otherwise I like it!
It is my life to a T. Except I don’t read a novel during lunch. 🙂
Sigh. Why is this so hard?
Thank goodness I don’t facebook.
I meant breakfast. 🙂
Yeah – I wish I didn’t Facebook. It takes a lot of discipline to avoid it when I should be writing!
I thought writing would be easy, after all – don’t writers love what they do? It’s not lack of love that leads me to this sort of mess of a day. It’s lack of many other things (discipline, confidence, patience…)
Glad to hear I’m not the only one struggling 🙂
Love it! That sounds just about right for me if I tried to work from home….:)
Very well written. I thought I was going to skim through this blog entry, and I found myself engrossed in it! You are indeed a good writer. Also, I’ve never seen this frizzy hair you speak of on you, so you must normally do a good job of fixing it.
Thanks Brooke, you’re very sweet. And yes – my hair is a disaster zone that requires much taming on a daily basis.