Like many authors, writing is a solo process for me. But while others find the working situation lonely, I revel in it. I’ve always enjoyed being left alone to work on my projects with very little supervision. Having said that, I must say that creating a book isn’t a solo expedition. Once I finish writing the first draft, there’s a team of people that do their own magic to put the book into the world.
But the writing part, that part I do on my own. I try to write everyday to keep the momentum going. Sometimes, when I miraculously wake up early on a Saturday morning, I go on my laptop to write. During work days, however, my routine is different. This is what my daily life is like from Monday to Friday.
7am – I get up and put on walking clothes to take my two dogs, Cherry and Gordon, for a walk around the block. The fresh air and exercise shakes me out of my sleepy head, ready to face a new day.
7.20am – I get food ready for breakfast as well as my daughter’s lunch. I’m lucky that my daughter gets herself ready without my prompting her to do so. I feed the guinea pigs and dogs, and water the plants. While breakfast is cooking, I sneak a couple of minutes of exercise outside or around the kitchen. Some push ups here and there, a couple of squats or some yoga moves.
8.30am – School drop off time, hurray!
8.35am – I tidy up the kitchen and the house before heading for a quick shower.
8.50am – I take my laptop and head outside to start my working day. I normally have my coffee next to me, a glass of water, the dogs running around the backyard and the guinea pigs meeping along. I put on the timer for 30 minutes and start writing my latest book project. I don’t edit what I wrote the day before. I just read the last paragraph I wrote and the plot points/notes and keep typing.
9.25am – The alarm goes off telling me that I have five minutes left. And for that five minutes, I do a sprint. I write as fast as my fingers can type and just keep going until the five minutes is up. Every now and then, when there is something I need to research, I go on Google quickly to see if it’s an easy search. If not, I just put notes on the manuscript in bold so I can go back to it later.
9.30am – Sometimes when the 30 minutes is up and I still have a paragraph or so I want to finish, I just keep going. I aim to write 30 minutes each day but if my train of thought is amazing that morning, I give it another 10 minutes or so. It isn’t the case each morning, though. There are times when I can’t wait for the 30 minutes to finish so I can move on to my day job.
9.40am -3pm – The rest of the morning and afternoon is spent doing work for my company. I give myself a 30-minute lunch break and a five-minute break every now and then. Thankfully, it’s a job I love so it’s not really anything stressful. I use an app to prioritise my To Do list so that the ones that are on deadline are dealt with first.
3pm – School pick up. When we get home, I make sure my daughter has something to eat first before she tackles her homework. While she’s doing that, I do some more work again. Most of the time, my daughter does her homework next to me so if she ever needs help, I can easily talk to her.
5.30pm – End of the working day. I do my best to stop working by 5.30pm because I do want to have a life outside of work too. Plus, dinner’s not going to cook itself. I have a 30-minute break, playing games on my iPhone or reading a book before heading to the kitchen to cook dinner.
However, when I do get my manuscript back from the publisher and they give me a deadline to make the changes they need, I change my schedule around to make sure I meet that deadline. And I always do, even if it means working until midnight. My training as a journalist has helped train me to work better under pressure.
That’s it! That’s my daily routine.
It may seem boring and a lot of work, but I do find pockets of happiness here and there. Like getting something super delicious for lunch while watching an episode on Netflix. Or lying down outside for a quick rest. I know I am lucky to be doing what I love to do so I make sure I remember that each day.