It begins with a nefarious thought, or a tail of a delicious nightmare, or a hatching tweet, like, really, an idea expressed in 140 characters that pecks on the inside of my skull, or my characters screaming, tearing at each other's hair or staring forlornly at the dusty road of the plot they were supposed to travel the day before and didn't get to, because I have written it in a different way. These and other thoughts skitter into a corner of my head and from there press and push and kick at my eyes and I hear their annoying trilling noise. Only it's not them. It's my alarm. It's 8 a.m. and it's time to get up. Naturally, I feel for the damn thing on the side of my bed and wave a fist in its face. It's designed to stop screeching. It does, sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't and I have to open one eye and see those red numbers glare at me.
This is how I wake up.
This is my morning.
I've grown lazy. I no longer need to get up before 7 a.m. to drive my son to school, he is big enough to go on a public bus. And I get to snooze an extra hour. Next step.
I step into panties, despite the fact that everyone thinks I'm writing naked, I do like to have something on me that prevents me from freezing, and panties and a bra get strapped on, then it takes me a while to pick out socks. You see, socks are very important for my writing process. Besides, I have gotten so many exquisitely unique concoctions from my readers that it's hard to choose the right pair. Black ones with purple cats? Fuzzy pink ones? Striped? Dotted? Ugh. After this is done, I slap on some tank top and leggings, or pajama pants, or whatever stretchy garment I can be comfortable in, wash my face, pee, fart a little, and tromp downstairs.
TO GET COFFEE.
I blink at the light in the kitchen, if it's sunny, or stare out the window at the rain, if it's rainy, and wait for fresh coffee to fucking brew faster.
Coffee is very important.
Before I have coffee, utter chaos reigns in my brain. After coffee it's still chaos, but it's pumped with energy that gives me an illusion of sanity. Next step is...
SOCIAL BLOODY MEDIA.
So lately I've been on a mission to cut this time down. To write more, and to read more, you know. I try very hard to stop Tweeting and Facebooking and Elloing and Google+ing and whatever else it is I do, like Instagram or Pinterest, by 10 a.m. I have written about my routine here, if you want a stripped short version of this "day in a life of a writer" thing. I don't read news, only scan Twitter for any news, mostly, as news tend to kick me out of creative mode and make me want to drop everything and run and save the world. I have to calm down and get back into thinking about my book, which is hard. I'm getting better at it, I swear.
AFTER 10 AM I TURN EVERY SHINY INTERNET WINDOW OFF.
Only my Pandora is open, as I play very loud music when I write, and the Google Translate browser window, as I get sometimes Russian words pop into my head and can't remember what they are in English. This is it. I drink more coffee and then switch to tea, play a couple Words with Friends games (do not invite me for any more, please, I play too many already), then I do pushups and stand on my head for a while (for real), and then I start writing.
I DO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM UNTIL 2,000 WORDS ARE DONE.
Okay, sometimes I do. I lumber downstairs into the kitchen again and have tea (I don't eat breakfast, in case you were wondering), and maybe a dried fig, or a kiwi. And then I get back up. I write and write and write and then stop and breathe. Then I brag about how many words I have written on Twitter. You all know that.
I read every day, at least 100 pages, so a couple hours or more if I can help it. Only sometimes other stuff happens that cuts that time down. Emails I have to answer, or books I have to ship, or pick up, or return to the library, or I have to bash in my neighbor's brains because his grizzled monster of dog killed my cat in the most deplorable manner (this is a lie, I don't have a cat and my neighbor doesn't have a dog and he is still alive). At this point sometimes I get hungry and nuzzle into a leg. A mammoth leg, maybe. Whatever I can find in the fridge. Sometimes I get sucked into long conversations on Twitter and later feel terrible pangs of conscience or growing anxiety and feelings of low self-worth, then I stare out the window, contemplating my lamentable childhood and feeling sorry for myself and maybe even cry a little.
Then I eat a cookie. Or another dried fig. And I feel better.
Then I write a blog post, maybe, if it's that time (I write them twice a week). Or I come out of the house for 1 minute, just to sniff the air and remember that there is this thing called "outdoors." If this is the week I have my son, I sometimes manage to get out of him more information about school than a simple "Fine."
THEN IT'S DINNER TIME.
Which is to say, it's that time when I remember that there are other people in the house. I tend to forget about their existence. At dinner we actually get to socialize. I typically look like an insipid amoeba, lost in recumbent thoughts (can thoughts be recumbent? I dunno. Mine are at the end of the day). I largely annoy everyone with this hazy glare in my eyes or a flaccid blank face that is indicative of my mind being wrapped up in something else. How my family can stand me, I don't know.
After all this I come back up to my writing cave and try to exercise a little. Yes, after dinner. My bike is in my room on this stand thingy that makes it into an exercise bike. And I read books on English grammar while biking, you know, to better my awesome writing skills. Or I play more Words with Friends. Or I tweet. Again.
BEFORE SLEEP I READ ALOUD TO MY BOYFRIEND.
Whatever it is I wrote this day, I read to him and we talk about it. He tells me very important things, usually. I usually deny them. He usually explains how I'm full of shit and should stop arguing and then he picks up a bat and whacks me on the head...and I'm lying again. No. He is a sweetheart and tells me my story is awesome, and it is I who has to poke him to get more critique out of him. We hustle. And bustle. And tousle. Some evenings it grows into love making, others it leads to taking a shower first and then making love.
Yes, writers wash.
Yes, writers make love.
Making love is very important to the writing process. It relieves stress and cancels any thoughts I have in my brain. You know, like a reset button on a computer.
Then, just before falling asleep, I might have another brilliant idea about a brilliant good night tweet. Or I don't have such an idea and think I'm stupid. That happens too. By then, however, I'm so tired that I don't care and drift off into dreaming like a mollified puppy. Or something. Soft, fuzzy, and happy.
The next morning the same shit repeats. The only difference being, on the weekends I don't set the alarm so I can sleep in, but my clever body, being used to the whole 8 a.m. thing, usually gets me up at 9 or so.
And that was your glimpse into a day in a life of a writer.
This is not a free peep show, in case you thought so. You can blame Madeline Courtney for making me write this, because she is the one who asked. You can also send me socks and cookies and coffee and diamonds here as payment. Or you can send me cash or any other treasures I can sell for big bucks and get rich. Thank you.