I’m lucky enough to have been writing full-time for about five years now. I live with my partner, who is also freelance. It’s great in some respects, in that we can work more or less to our own schedules. The downside of course (apart from no holiday/sick pay and uncertain income!) is that we both end up working more than we probably should. Weekends and bank holidays have become a bit of a myth, but that’s mostly because we both love what we do. For me, writing is a way of life, as well as a job.
My schedule varies, depending on where I’m at with a book. I usually spend a good few months researching before I actually begin to write. But, on average, here’s what standard day might look like.
Try to get up. Fail.
I’ve never been a good sleeper. I struggle to fall asleep, and wake up a lot during the night, which means I am an absolute master when it comes to morning snoozing. It is perhaps my favourite activity of all time.
Smell coffee drifting up the stairs. Roll out of bed.
Coffee, breakfast and straight to my desk to start writing.
Writing. Coffee. Stare out the window.
Writing. More coffee (ill-advised). Shame-facedly open the door to postman in my pyjamas.
Lunch. On a good day, and if I’m on a deadline, I might write until 2.30pm or 3.30pm before I stop for lunch. I try to do as much as I can, because once I’ve stopped, it’s game over for the afternoon.
Get dressed. Yes, I know. Working from home means pyjamas and a jumper 80% of the time. Mornings are when I do my best work, so I try to delay the real world for as long as possible. (I rarely reply to emails in the morning either). This is just one good reason why you shouldn’t pay a surprise visit to a writer. You’re likely – in my case at least – to find them un-showered, covered in toast crumbs, drinking three-hour-old coffee.
This is a dead zone for me. Unless I’m really pushed, I just can’t concentrate. I tend to do other things, like Life Admin, e.g. the bills, insurance, MOTs, washing, and other endless things that always need doing.
I try to get out of the house and away from the computer, too. In the past I’ve volunteered at a local homeless shelter and a community-run café, tutored students, and taken various part-time classes. I also have an allotment. I’m definitely an enthusiastic amateur, but I find the process of growing things therapeutic and incredibly rewarding.
I still miss after work drinks, so occasionally I’ll put on a pair of real trousers (or leggings, let’s be honest) and go to meet one of the wonderful friends I have here in Bristol. If not, I might try and do another hour’s writing at this point.
7pm-midnight (or later)
My partner and I tend to share the cooking between us. It’s something I enjoy, as well as being another activity to get away from my desk. Favourite recipe books currently are Meera Sodha’s Fresh India and Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana and Scirocco. Then, sometimes a film (we have an endless list), reading, reading, and bed: probably far later than is wise, meaning I’ll be hitting that snooze button again in the morning…