I recently quit the day job to write full-time. Before I left, I had this vision in my head of what my new, carefree life would be like.
I would rise from bed somewhere around 7:00 a.m. I would write for a few hours and take a mid-morning break for Yoga. After a sensible lunch, I would get online for an hour, then continue writing. After dinner, I would go for a jog. Nights would be used for family time. After 9:00 p.m. I would watch some TV and then snuggle into bed and dream happily about another carefree day ahead.
But that's not quite how it turned out.
I crawl from bed somewhere around 11:00. The house is a mess by then because my daughter has been terrorizing the place for a good four hours while my husband does his homework. I check my email. Check Twitter. Check my email. Eat breakfast (lunch?). Watch an episode of Project Runway.
The rest of the afternoon is spent doing what Her Highness (my daughter) demands. I try to fit in a trip to the gym, or a jog in the evening. Breakfast is my only sensible meal of the day and that's because my husband made it and set it in front of me. Mostly I eat pretzels. Somewhere around 8:00 p.m. I look at my to-do list and then shove it beneath a pile of stuff. Then I check my email. Check Twitter. Check my email. Drool over all the pretty things on Tumblr.
Most days I don’t actually start writing till 11:00 p.m. and then work till 4:00ish. It’s worked for me so far (besides the sleeping half a day thing). There are no distractions, but do I really want to spend the rest of my life living half my day in the dark? Probably not.
With any big change or transition, I think you need to set a routine as quickly as possible. And I think that’s important for every writer. Some are better at it than others. I’m still trying to figure out a good schedule for myself. I think it would help if I had my own writing cottage so I could write carefree, distraction-free, throughout the day.
What do you think? Google tells me this is Roald Dahl’s writing cottage. I want it.
Jennifer Rush is the author of ALTERED coming Fall 2012 from Little, Brown. Check out her blog for news and updates.