A Day In The Life

So one of the things that I keep getting asked at interviews and appearances this winter is: What does your typical day look like? Since it’s typical for me, I don’t find it very interesting, but in case anyone out there was wondering, here is the ideal version of my typical day.

~7:30 I wake up briefly when Laura gets up and goes off to herd faculty and teach physics. I give her a kiss goodbye and go back to sleep for half an hour to an hour.

~8:00-8:30 I get up.

~8:00-10:00 I stagger out of bed (still not awake) and start infusing caffeine into my system, either diet cola or black tea followed by the other. I do this while putting in an hour-and-a-half on the treadmill reading my email and morning news blogs on my laptop. 2013 addition: I now start the caffeine drip in the hot tub.

~10:00-11:00 I actually wake up. I do all the not-writing work that’s accumulated, like answering the email that I read and prioritized on the treadmill, posting to this blog, any promotional stuff that needs taking care of, breakfast, etc.

~11:00-12:00 I read through and revise the ~2,000 words I wrote yesterday. (Note, this is ideally, as the 8:00-11:00 stuff often spills over, especially if I’ve had a book launch recently and that can mean getting started later or that I wrote less yesterday)

~12:00-4:00/5:00 I write till Laura gets home.

~5:00-10:00 we do couple stuff together.

~10:00 Bedtime. Laura goes to sleep and I do research reading for another hour or two.


1) I almost never write on the weekends. Writing is my job. It’s a job I love, but it’s still a job. That means building break time into my schedule.

2) I used to write more of each day and I used to write more words in that time, but I also used to have to do a lot more revision and throwing away of words. These days, first draft is about what a beta draft used to look like.

3) I don’t write every day or follow this schedule every day that I do write. I’m the spouse with the flexible schedule and that means I run life-support activities including the vast majority of cleaning, most of the joint meal cooking, and all of the vet appointments and the like.

4) I can and do occasionally compress everything else or let much of it go by the boards if I’m writing fast or on deadline.

And that’s about it.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 18 2008, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)