When it comes to writing, we all have an idea of what our ideal writing day would look like. Of course, it’s rare that we actually get to enjoy such a perfect day — most of the time, we just squeeze our writing in where we can — but hey, we can dream!
Like many writers, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of a “perfect writing day.” Some authors, like Stephen King, adhere to a strict writing schedule, while others, Like George R. R. Martin, have a more chaotic approach. But regardless of who you ask, most authors will say that they try to write every single day regardless of when or how.
Honestly, I’m a bit fickle, and my ideals tend to change on a seasonal basis: in the summer and fall, I like to sit at my big, glass desk with my feet propped up on a table tray, and in the winter and spring, I prefer to curl up on the couch in my favorite hand-me-down writing sweater. But before I get into my ultimate writing day, I’ll tell you about a typical day in my life.
My Typical Day
As it currently stands, I work from home as an insurance transcriptionist, which allows me to have an extremely flexible schedule. Basically, as long as I meet my weekly quota, I can work whenever I feel like it. Except, of course, for Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, I fill in for my dad at his pizza shop.
Tuesdays at the pizza shop aside, I have two types of days: early and late. On early days, my husband has to go into school, and I wake up at 6:30 to iron his clothes. Don’t worry though, it’s not the patriarchy that makes me iron (in fact, my husband takes care of 95% of the housework) it’s the fact that my favorite hobby is quilting, and if he messes up my iron on a pair of synthetic Walmart khakis, I will freak out.
On early days, my husband heads out around 7:00, so I transcribe for a few hours, get a little quilting done (while listening to an audiobook), work on my blog, and do whatever “research” I need to get done. But let’s be fair, when writing fiction, research quickly devolves into watching YouTube for hours.
Then, once my husband gets home, I hang out with him for a while, and write after he goes to bed.
Fun Fact: The main character of my novel is named Grey. My husband is also named Grey. This is a coincidence. I actually wrote the first draft of Pieces of Pink on a road trip, almost two years before I even met him. And of course, I wasn’t about to change Grey’s name just because Grey was already named Grey. (I’ll leave it to you to decide whose name I was thinking of changing.)
On late days, Grey doesn’t go to school. So, being the night owl that I am, I sleep until 11:00 a.m., transcribe for a few hours, quilt while I hang out with Grey, and once again, write after he goes to sleep. For the most part, I love my current schedule, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about what things would look like if writing were my full-time job.
My Ideal Writing Day
First of all, it’s important to note that because I’m married and I love hanging out with my husband, I can never really have a writing schedule that is completely dedicated to writing and nothing else. And honestly, I don’t think a writing schedule like that would be healthy. After all, you have to live.
But living with another person does have one major impact on my schedule in general. Basically, if left to my own devices, I gradually adopt the habit of falling asleep at 7:00 a.m. and waking up around 4:00 p.m., but since I enjoy spending time with Grey, I’m willing to compromise and sleep from 3:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
So, family-life aside, if I ever reach the point where I could quit my “day job,” here’s how my ideal writing day would play out:
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Wake up, make a cup of tea (I don’t really like coffee) and get ready for the day. All of this, of course, would be done while having some kind of deeply philosophical conversation with Grey, who at this point would have already been up since 6:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
For the next couple of hours, I would take care of what I affectionately call “book fluff.” This includes maintaining my blog and taking care of general book details such as cover art, book blurbs, formatting, and all of the other pretty stuff (for lack of a better word).
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
At this point, my stomach would probably be roaring, so I would make lunch and hang out with Grey. For the most part, Grey and I make our own food. Neither of us are big on cooking, so usually lunch is whatever we forage for ourselves.
2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
As many great authors advise, if you want to be a great writer, you have to read. So, after lunch, I would take some time to read or listen to an audiobook while quilting. (Honestly, I get kind of antsy if I’m only doing one leisure activity at a time.)
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
When it comes to dinner, the rules of lunch apply. Unless we’re having frozen pizza, it’s pretty much every man for himself. But, at dinnertime, we do usually eat together while pacing around the kitchen (we don’t have a kitchen table, because I can’t be trusted to not pile mountains of clutter on top of it.) After dinner, I would hang out with Grey, and catch up on our favorite T.V. shows.
8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
I’ve never enjoyed cardio, so when it comes to exercise, yoga is as extreme as I’m willing to get. Although I have a tendency to fall off the bandwagon with daily yoga, in an ideal world, I would always squeeze in an hour before it’s time to write. And personally, I’ve been using Yoga with Adriene to facilitate my yoga practice since 2015. By now, I think just about everyone has heard of her, but if not, you should totally check out her videos. There are literally hundreds.
9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
At this point in the night, Grey would head to bed, and I would take a quick shower, make a cup of tea, chai, or hot chocolate, and get ready to write.
9:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
12:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Even though it’s bedtime for most people, midnight is my signal for a tea break! While I drink my tea, I would also hang out on Pinterest for a little bit, just to get some fresh ideas flowing.
12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
2:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
In the last half-hour of my day, I would wrap up whatever scene I was working on, and map out a rough outline of the next day’s work. I find that my creative mind is at it’s peak at night, so it’s much easier for me to jot down all of my exciting plot points and ideas before I go to sleep.
Fun Fact: I recently wrote a couple of scenes in the morning while Grey was at work, and when one of my Beta readers read them, he asked me why they seemed “off.” I told him that I had written them in the morning instead of at night. His response: “Yeah, you probably shouldn’t do that anymore.”
So even though many authors swear by getting their writing done first thing, it doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re a night owl, just embrace it.
Go to sleep.
So, there you have it!