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A Day In the Life of a Writer

A little while ago I noticed a lot of posts where writers described a typical work day and I found them really interesting, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon (if a little late) πŸ™‚

I’ve got two different routines – one for writing and one for editing.

Writing

writing space
My writing space – tidied up just for you! πŸ™‚

I get up at 8am, although I do try to get better and get up at 7.30 (or there about – I’ve been managing 7.40 recently). I don’t start writing until 9am, which gives me time to make some tea and catch up with social media before getting stuck in. Tea helps me wake up and, depending on the kind of tea I’m drinking, it helps energise me, too. Writing 3K in one hour is quite possible when you feel like running up the walls! Having said that I don’t set a specific word goal I want to achieve every day. Rather, I write for roughly an hour every morning, sometimes it’s a little more and rarely it’s less than that. In that time I get anything between 1,5K and 3K, sometimes I even manage more than that. On particularly successful mornings I’ve written over 4K words! (that’s the tea at play there)

Since I currently have a part-time job I don’t have time to write for another hour later on in the day, and I’m not convinced that it would be as productive, either. I’m my most productive in the morning with a hot cup of tea, so I’d have to test what difference writing in the afternoon would make. Maybe once I’ve signed a book deal with an amazing agent. (one can dream, right?)

While I don’t set a specific word goal per day I used to aim for 6K a week at the beginning of my draft. As I went on I upped my target to 8K, and I’ll try a goal of 10K a week when I write the draft for Book 2.

Editing

editing Day7

My editing routine looks a little different. I still get up at the same time and I still start around 9 (sometimes 8.30, if the cat allows it), but I don’t stop after an hour. I try to get as much editing done as I can fit into my morning. Since I can nibble on some breakfast while I highlight and cross things out I sometimes do that, too. On a normal morning I’ll edit for between 2 and 3 hours.

I change location, too. I’ve been staring at my screen and keyboard throughout the entire draft, and it helps to have it lying before me in a different format. So I print the whole thing out, and go through it with a red pen and some highlighters. I don’t start applying the first changes in the actual file until I’ve been through the whole draft once. When all changes have been applied I repeat the process until I can’t find any more by myself – at this point I’ll get an editor and some beta readers involved.

I also sit on a comfy sofa while I do all this, because why not? I’d be in my pj’s, too, if that wasn’t more likely to make me go back to sleep!

editing Day10

What is your routine when you write and/or edit? Do you have certain rituals you need to run through in order for the words to flow? I love seeing how other people approach this, so please share your habits with me in the comments! πŸ™‚

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Published inA Writer's MusingsUncategorized

16 Comments

  1. I like editing on paper too. Staring at a screen too long makes my eyes hurt. Besides, there’s something very satisfying about scribbling all over a printed draft πŸ™‚

    • Mine, too, it was a welcome change. And it was very satisfying to draw a long, red line through the prologue with the words DO I EVEN NEED THIS?? πŸ˜›

  2. I love hearing about people’s routines when it comes to writing and editing. I also edit on a hard copy. I can’t bear to stare at a screen and edit. I need to remove myself from that place where I’ve been writing to get a fresh perspective. I just love holding a pen in my hand and feeling the freedom to write across a page πŸ™‚

    • I do, too, the first ones I read months ago were especially interesting because I somehow never realised how different all their routines were! It was great to see that not everyone can spare ten hours a day and that actually, not that many people do spare that much.

  3. A great insight into your writing and editing process! I love these type of posts! The morning can be the best time for writing for me especially with a cup of tea! I seem to do a lot of writing sporadically throughout the day when my job allows it but the most productive times are morning and just before bed!
    With editing I find it best to read through on the computer and change things around and then edit once more after printing.
    Thank you for sharing the details of your writing and editing day with good humour and interesting facts. I love the part about the tea and the cat – I can relate!

    • Thank you, I do too. Tea certainly helps the process, too ^^ It’s difficult to find a good routine when you’ve got a day job and can’t set a lot of time aside, but it sounds like you’re managing just fine πŸ™‚ The important thing is you’re writing at all!

  4. I don’t write at any set time. When it comes, it comes. When I get bit and pieces, I either write notes on my laptop desktop screen using Sticky Notes (I have a few bits of dialogue sitting on my screen now that I’ll squeeze into my notes later) or I’ll type them into my phone’s notes program or simply record them with my phone’s voice recorder. My acting is terrible, but when writing, it’s the dialogue that counts. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, occasionally, I’ll find time between procrastination sessions to actually write something and that’s when I’ll write. Sometimes I’ll get maybe a couple of pages, sometimes I’ll get more. I’ll normally stop writing when I feel like nothing else wants to come out. I don’t like to write for the sake of writing. When I write something, I want it to be something that I feel, at the time, belongs in the story and is there for a solid reason. I could end up editing it out later, but the important thing is what I feel in the moment. I write to express myself and I don’t always feel the need to express myself.

    Editing is pretty much the same as writing. I don’t set a time to do it. However, I do tend to prioritize editing over procrastination. If there’s a lot to do, I’ll just want to get it done. I usually edit on my laptop. I don’t print because every time I print something, I see Jesus staring at a tree with a tear streaming down his cheek. But that may just be me.

    By the way, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty about printing; the thought simply came to me and I thought it was funny and so I figured I’d share it to hopefully get someone other than me to laugh at it. Print away! πŸ™‚

    • I don’t think I could write like you, Gabriel, I think it would drive me mad! Kudos to you for writing whenever the mood strikes you!
      Haha, no offence taken, it’s a funny image πŸ˜›

      • No offense, whatsoever. I couldn’t write like you either. That’s what makes writing, and art in general, so wonderful: there’s no wrong way. πŸ™‚

  5. I am very busy most of the day but I keep my tablet with me so I can edit whenever I get a chance. Then late at night -usually any where from 11pm-4 or 5 am- I am working on the computer.

    • That sounds like a very busy day for you, but kudos to you for fitting it in at all! Writing a book takes a fair amount of determination and you seem to have plenty! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you. You do to. πŸ™‚ I go nuts if I don’t do something pertaining to my story. This is the main reason I am glad portable computers exist.

      • I understand, I’m the same. I can take a couple of days off here and there but I usually still end up taking notes if I get an idea, and not doing any work on it for longer than that drives me crazy.

  6. First things first, we both start our day with tea! So, I reckon we’d get along like a house on fire πŸ˜‰ Secondly, I too write most productively in the mornings, but I can’t always do that, so I have a more haphazard approach.

    I admire your writing time structure. I really need to sort something more concrete out for myself.

    • There’s no better way to start the day – in fact, I had *two* teas this morning! I reckon we’d get along, too πŸ˜‰ You’re welcome to pop over for tea and a cookie any time, should you ever find yourself in the area ^^ (just tell me in advance so I can take the day off)

      Thank you, I figured if I wanted this to work I’d need a proper schedule. It doesn’t always work out since I can’t plan for everything but I try and it works most days πŸ™‚

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