Friday, February 22, 2008

A Day in the Life a Writer (A Different Perspective)

6:05 am. My four-year old, Mason jumps on our bed with a gleeful, “What insane fun will we have today?” or something similar. I blink at him blearily and wonder how anything I helped raise can be so incredibly exuberant so early, and then have a vague memory of torturing my parents in a similar fashion. Put pillow over head and mutter, "F**king karma" too quietly for small ears to hear and repeat.

6:30 – 7:30 am. After wrestling a few more minutes of sleep from partner and child, I dress and shuffle downstairs to feed all the animals: five cats, eight fish (in four separate tanks), one small ravenous child, and myself. (Partner must fend for herself.) Dishes go in sink for later. I get Mason and myself dressed and head for the car to take partner to work at the historical society.

7:30 – 8:00 am. Traffic. (Although in Saint Paul this isn’t really anything to complain about and it only takes so long because partner despises highway driving, particular in winter.) Kiss my beloved good-bye for the day and engage in ritual: “After while, crocodile. Munch! Munch!”

When Mason has school (which he does half days, year ‘round) and is not on vacation, the next step is to take him to school by 9:00 am. We usually waste the intervening time by hanging out at Amore Café and playing a game of “Sorry!” or “Scrabble” -- or, lately, because my coffee shop is evil and knows of my secret addictions from the ‘80s, wasting a dollar in quarters playing Ladybug on their video arcade table console.

When Mason is on vacation (which he currently is) we still start at the coffee shop, as I am "mommy zombie" until my first cup, but then the day preceeds like noon - 4:30pm below, only more so, and with a lot more of me saying, "Are you sure you don't want to watch twenty minutes of the Muppet Show?" And my dear child replying with the occassional yes, though much more likely, "No, will you read to me?" (And what parent can say no to THAT plea??)

9:00 – 11:30 am. After dropping Mason at school (and, on Thursdays volunteering twenty minutes or so stuffing folders,) return to coffee shop and get some e-mail work done (catching up with news from editors, agents, friends, readers – possibly writing a blog like this one,) and if any time is left write a paragraph or so on the novel before running back out the door. Alternate days, I work out at the gym. As I have no health insurance, I figure it’s the least I should be doing. Plus, my butt is prone to writers’/secretaries’ spread as I’ve sat on it so much in the past.

Noon-4:30 pm. After feeding ravenous small child lunch, spend the rest of the afternoon with him.

In this time, I also go grocery shopping, run errands - particularly to the post office, do the dishes I neglected earlier, and generally take care of house work including fish tank maintenance, kitty litter, etc.

Some afternoons, Mason and I will also abandon our house to rot and decay and take trip to the Science Museum to ooooh and ahhh at the dinosaurs or go to the Museum of Russian Art or any of those sorts of places that strikes our fancy (Saint Paul/Minneapolis is full of these places and I love visiting them when we can - especially since our library offers museum passes as part of it's regular "check out" system).

We will also sometimes hit the library or (if he’s done all his chores and can coax me), god forbid, to the Mall of America. In the warmer seasons, we spend time at Minnehaha Park or just goofing off in the backyard. In the winter months, if it’s above freezing, we go sledding.

Some days when I can cajole Mason into watching a bit of TV, I’ll either try to sneak in another paragraph or two of writing on my novel, a bit of email, or reading and reviewing and critiquing manuscripts for my class and/or Wyrdsmiths.

4:30 – 5:00 pm. Pick up Shawn from work (we are, if you haven’t guessed, a one car family.)

5:30 – 6:30 pm. Make, eat, and clean up from dinner. Talk to partner about her day.

6:30 – 7:00 pm. Get Mason ready for bed - bath, tooth brushing, vitamin taking, etc.

7:00 – 8:00 pm. Read or tell stories to Mason in bed. Fall asleep well before he does, and wake up and drag self out of his warm bed and...

8:00 – midnight. ...finally, write. Except, of course, for the nights that I teach at the Loft (Tuesday nights from now until sometime mid-April or early May) and when there’s writers’ group (Thursdays on some schedule that I have yet to fathom that approximates every other.) My partner and I also take turns putting Mason to sleep, so some nights I start writing as early as 7:00 pm.

That’s my typical day.

I’ve written at least two professionally published novels only writing at night like this. I also religiously take weekends off to spend with my family and, more importantly, vegging out in front of the TV watching movies/shows with the love of my life.

1 comment:

lydamorehouse said...

Wow, you're life is EXACTLY like mine, Tate!