Oh, I fantasize about being like that. I make plans and lists and detailed schedules. But then something invariably throws me off--staying up until 2:00am searching for cheap flights to Buenos Aires, an email that takes forty minutes to compose, a blog post I forgot to write ahead of time....
In my writing schedule, there is only one consistent and constant thing:
I MUST WRITE AT STARBUCKS.
(Okay, not necessarily at Starbucks, it can be a Panera or an independent coffee shop or anywhere with caffeinated beverages and comfy chairs. But it's usually a Starbucks, because there's one next door.)
Here's how a day in my writing life goes:
1. Walk inside. Scope out my comfy chair. (I'm very picky about this, and of the four comfy chairs at my Starbucks, only two are suitable.) If someone is in my comfy chair when I arrive, then I set my stuff at a nearby seat so I can pounce as soon as it's available.
2. Order my first drink of the day. What I get depends on my mood and the day. If I'm feeling blah, I'll get a frappuccino. If I'm feeling budget- and calorie-conscious, I'll get an iced coffee with toffee nut flavor. If it's cold, I'll get a soy chai latte.
3. Sit down (hopefully in comfy chair) and pull out all my stuff. When I'm writing something new, this includes any or all of the following: alphasmart (indestructible word processor), sprial-bound, pencil case, post-its, index cards, iPod shuffle, academic year planner/calendar. When I'm revising, my kit is the same except I bring my laptop instead of my alphasmart.
4. Put on headphones. This is a necessity whether I'm listening to music or not--it discourages people from talking to me (interrupting my work) and, if they're brazen enough to talk anyway, I can pretend like I don't hear them. (I know, I'm awful, but my concentration is very fragile. I protect it vehemently.)
5. Spend far too long looking at my calendar, making notes and lists of what I need to do when. (This is pure procrastination!) If I got stuck in a scene last time or if I'm not sure how to begin today, I'll spend a little time with my spiral-bound, brainstorming and trying to figure out what's working. (This is only slightly procrastination.)
6. Finally put aside the calendar and the spiral-bound and get to work. I'll spend anywhere from two to six hours writing--any longer and my brain begins to melt. This usually involves at least one more beverage, at least one trip to the ladies (leaving everything but my purse and alphasmart/laptop to stake my claim on the comfy chair). This also usually involves a lot of day-dreaming, staring out the front window, and making notes about interesting people.
(The staff at my Starbucks is convinced that I'm writing about them, but they're fairly normal. Nothing compared to some of the customers!)
7. When my brain/bladder/sleeping backside has finally had enough, I pack it up and head home.
So there you have it. My typical writing day. And, if nothing sets my schedule into a tailspin, I'll start over with the same thing the next.
OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available May 1st!