Monday, January 25, 2010

My writing life

Today, I bravely brushed aside my horrific, mind-boggling fears and deeply felt insecurities and tore wildly into the massive manuscript -- rewriting, polishing and killing adverbs and adjectives as savagely as a wild-eyed barbarian with a razor-sharp, two-foot sword.


I also thought I'd use this snowy Monday to tell you a bit about my daily routine and my writing space. For some reason, all writers are utterly obsessed with other writer's routines and workspaces. I'm not sure why, but then I also don't know why dogs sniff each other's butts. So what do I know?

My weekdays follow a pretty rigid routine. I wake up about 7 a.m. and watch Morning Joe on MSNBC while gulping down coffee in bed. I get really grumpy if I don't get my daily dose of Mika, Joe and Willy, et al. When Wife and Child leave for work and school at about 8:20, I head off to the gym for an hour long workout followed by an equally long and relaxing steam and a cool, invigorating shower. It's both heaven and hell. The workout, of course, is the hell part.

I arrive home at about 10:15 and make breakfast. Since I stay on a very low-carb diet, it usually consists of an Egg Beaters omelet with cheese and onions, along with three slices of turkey bacon. And a small glass of one-percent milk. I read the newspaper after breakfast and then spend about thirty minutes reading the dictionary. That's right. The dictionary. Everyday. It's the only way I know to beef up my vocabulary. I find it oddly relaxing. And yes, I take notes. God, I've become such a geek. I also try to get at least an hour's worth of reading for enjoyment in each day (usually at night; more on weekends) since all writers must read. It's like a rule or something. And I'm just about finished with Stephen King's massive Under The Dome, which I plan to review on this blog, perhaps later this week or on Sunday.

Hey. You still with me? Good. Hang in there. There's some writing and editing coming up. I promise.

After breakfast, usually around 11, I head downstairs to the study where my work space is located. I fire up the computer and the little fireplace (in winter) and do an initial online visit to check e-mails, blogs, news stories, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I try to keep it to thirty minutes, tops.

Around 11:30, I pour myself a big mug of Starbucks, clip a nice cigar and get to work. I then work solidly until about 5 or 5:30, when the Wife and Child get home. Since I generally make dinner, I'll get that in the oven if it's something that requires baking (and it usually does). We eat a lot of baked chicken breasts. I'm getting very tired of baked chicken breasts, but that's a whole other post.

I don't turn on the study television set, nor do I listen to music when I write or edit. I know some do, but it's too distracting for me. I do, however, listen to music when I brainstorm. And I generally crank it up real LOUD. I set aside Fridays for more outwardly pursuits (like seeing other people for lunch, hanging out at coffee shops and things like that), although I seem to end up working more often than not. It's very easy for me to isolate myself to the point that I am no longer in touch with the world I'm trying to write about. That's not a good thing.

I reserve evenings for family, reading, computer time, sports and cable news shows, although I do work Sunday nights (and blog, as well), since the wife works nights on Sundays and the Child and I get bored once football is over.

Saturdays are freebies. Once my gym time is over, I do whatever the hell I want. So there.

And that's my life. Looking at it in black and white (or tan, since that's the color of my blog), it ain't much. But it makes me happy and it allows me the time I require to write, edit and pursue my dreams. And in the end, isn't that what matters most?


  1. Ron and I enjoy reading your blog and I have to say Ron did smile when he read where you mentioned him being a cop and your stepfather.
    Linda Towery

  2. Interesting post; I enjoyed reading about your routine! Do you have a side job? If not, I'd be curious to hear how you were able to "take the plunge" into full-time writing while still being able to make ends meet. That topic might make for a blog post... it would be inspiring to those with similar aspirations to hear about your experience making the transition.

  3. Great schedule. Take care of yourself first, then work. Hmmm...Alright, I'm in.

    By the way, what about The Flamingo Kid? or what was the name of the movie..."I want my two dollars," with John Cusack?

    Happy revising.

  4. You are leading the consummate writer's life Terry, good for you! One question, have you written a book proposal for the novel?