Richard Johnson, the lovely man who helps me with my website, suggested that many folks are curious about writers and their work habits. I confess that’s often one of my own first questions when I meet authors or hear them speak. Writers want to be productive, and we want to know how successful authors are getting the work done.
For me, mornings are key. That’s because I’m the most mentally alert and energized in the morning hours. So, after I’ve had breakfast, read the paper (yes, I am a dinosaur—I still read an actual newspaper!), and gotten some exercises done while sneaking a peek at the Today Show, I head to my computer and work for three or four hours.
Sometimes I’m doing research or pre-writing—character bios, plotting ideas, etc. Once I start a draft of a novel, I shoot for at least 1000 words a day. The next morning, I always start with what I’ve written the day before. Invariably, I’ll make changes and then kick start myself into the next section.
Once I have a draft, the larger revision process begins, which can take anywhere from weeks to months. I get lots of feedback from my fellow writers, my agent, my editor, and of course, my first reader—my husband.
If it’s been a productive morning, I reward myself by reading through lunch. And if it hasn’t been a productive morning, I comfort myself by reading through lunch. Like every other writer on the planet, I’m addicted to books. If I weren’t able to read every day, I would feel severely deprived.
After lunch, unless I have pressing “life stuff” I have to attend to, I work for another hour or two. Then, if I don’t have to go out that night, I head to the pool for a late afternoon swim. For me, swimming is meditative, as well as a good way to stay active that’s kind to my joints.
Confession time: If I don’t have any appointments for the day, I’m often in my jammies until it’s time for a swim—or time for my husband to come home, who teases me unmercifully if I’m still pajama-clad at the end of the day (which has happened, especially when I’m on deadline).
So that’s it—really very boring, except for the work, of course. I’m blessed to have blocks of time to write. Even though I might be sitting there for hours in my jammies at my desk, I get to travel to whole other worlds in my imagination.
I highly recommend the journey!