Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Writer

My muse Lily and me work together every day.
Sometimes my husband comes home from work and asks who I talked to that day. Often, the answer is nobody or, “I said hello to the guy on the front desk at the gym” or something like that.

Writers’ lives can be lonely and isolated. But I’m not complaining. I do get to live with the people I’ve made up all day long and, unlike real life, I get to decide how things will go for them. I may put them through some awful stuff, but in the end, I usually give them a happy ending.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you an idea of what a day of my writing life looks like.

First, let’s assume I’m in the middle of a work-in-progress because that’s how the bulk of my days go. That’s the meat of the work and of my life.

Surprisingly or not, I do not immediately rise from bed and hit the computer and begin writing. No, I put that off to do the following (in order and these are all, I believe, necessary to facilitate the writing that will come later):

1. Walk the dog. My Boston terrier, Lily, is up early every day. I like to think it’s because she wants to make sure I get up and get to work, but that’s a bit fanciful. Anyway, because we live in a condo in the city, there’s no letting her out into the yard to do her business. I have to get dressed and get her leashed and harnessed.
2. I make coffee, the life-giving elixir that allows me to clear the cobwebs from my head. I know, it’s a bit of an addiction, but it works—and it’s reliable. I usually make some breakfast for myself as well, usually an omelet of some sort.
3. I read. I usually take an hour to read whatever book I’m reading for pleasure currently. Right now, it’s Lisa Unger’s thriller IN THE BLOOD (really gripping!). I am constantly reading a book and I think this contributes powerfully to my own abilities to be a professional storyteller.
4. I meditate. For me, meditation consists of letting go of the clutter that’s in my head and concentrating on what I believe are essential truths, such as we are all part of a universal spirit. I could go on and on about my beliefs, but this is not the place.
5. I head into my office. Since we have a two-bedroom condo, my office is also the guest room, but I have a lovely space set up for myself at the window (which overlooks Seattle’s Lake Union—an inspiring view if there ever was one).
6. I check e-mails and social media. I try to answer what can be answered quickly and save as unread what I need more time to deal with. I check birthdays on Facebook and send out greetings to anyone turning whatever age they’re turning that day. I respond to friend requests and messages. I plot out what I might want to post on Twitter and Facebook and schedule some of it through an application called Hootsuite.
7. I blog. I try to post at least three times a week (often only ending up with two times—blogs are hungry beasts and never satisfied). I might be promoting the work of another writer (good Karma, I think) or pimping my own stuff (a new release, a new review, my thoughts on the craft and the business of writing).
8. I play a game of two of Spider Solitaire. Yes, it’s necessary.
9. I shut off any music I might have playing.
10. I open my current work-in-progress and begin. I start by reviewing what I wrote the day before and intensely edit. This is how I work—I don’t work through rough draft like some people will tell you to do (and by the way, there’s no wrong or right way to create—there’s only the way that works best for you) and then edit later. I edit as I go. It’s an important part of bringing me to the point where I can then move forward in my story. By the time I’m finished reading through the book and making changes I deem necessary, I am already half-immersed in the story and the lives of my characters.

And that’s a pretty standard writing day for me. The rest of the day, I run, do household stuff, and, when needed, do editing or promotional work on things that are already in the publishing stream.

I hope this was interesting and/or illuminating, or at least not boring!

My latest book is Mute Witness.

The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed.

Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.

And then their perfect world shatters.

Jason goes missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he's been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood.

As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

Note: When you buy the paperback from DSP Publications, you get the ebook for FREE.

1 comment:

  1. Angela:
    Thanks for sharing this, it was very interesting to read how you start your "writing" day, it wasn't boring at all and i enjoyed reading this post.