Question of the day: I'd love to hear about your daily schedule, a blow-by-blow, as to how you get everything done.
Sure! Though I think I'm a lot less busy than people think. Or maybe I'm just used to working at such a pace that it doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. But here goes. (And I'm giving you the non-work details too, so working moms can see how I squeeze in other things.)
My schedule depends a lot on where I am in the writing process of a book. For the sake of staving off your boredom, I'm going to lay out how I work when I'm really in the thick of a manuscript. Mostly because this is really when the heavy-lifting goes on, and also because I assume you don't need to read my daily schedule of Facebook-Twitter-J.Crew-gossip sites-CNN, repeat, repeat, repeat. So here goes:
7AM: Kill me, but I get up. I am NOT a morning person and it takes the force of God to get me up at this hour, but alas, I crack an eye open in this general time vicinity.
8AM: After making breakfast for my kids, I hustle my eldest out the door. Either I take him or my husband takes him, in which case, I take my daughter to school by 9AM.
10AM: Regardless of which child I take to school, I run errands on the way home (this is NYC, so I'm walking everywhere, and it's easiest to bang out a few errands first thing), and am through the door by 10, usually earlier. I eat a late breakfast and screw around online for a bit while doing so. For some reason, I have a tough time really digging into my work until I've surfed the sites I want to catch up on. But once I get all that crap out of the way, it's like wiping the slate clean, and I'm good to go.
10:30-11:AM. This is when I really start writing. If I'm having a hard time motivating, I give myself a deadline: like, you HAVE to start writing by 11AM sharp.
1:00PM: After writing for two hours or so, I find that my eyes and my brain grow a bit fuzzy. I set word counts for myself each day (or when revising, page counts), anywhere from 1k to 2k (or 15-20 pages of revision). Sometimes I reach this goal in these two hours; many times, I don't. But still, I know myself, and know that I need a break, so I push back my chair for a breather.
1-2PM: I usually take an hour to workout and recharge. (Yes, exercising helps me recharge!) I then run out (or stop on the way home from a jog) and pick up lunch/run a few more errands like picking up food for dinner. (The dinner decision can't be made until my husband has eaten lunch because, lord forbid, I repeat something that he's eaten that day. Spouses- I know I'm not alone in these intricate and lengthy discussions.)
2:30PM: Eat lunch and mindlessly surf the web again. A lot of breaking gossip can happen over the course of my lunch break!!
3PMish: If I haven't reached my word count goal, I dive back in. I'll write anywhere from an hour or two. OR, if I have a celebrity profile to work on, I reserve this time for that. I tend to at least get the fiction out of the way in the morning because that's much harder for me to motivate on. So knowing that I've put in a few good hours, I'm okay focusing on something else for a bit, like those mag articles. Or I may write a chunk of blog posts for the week. Things like that.
5PM: I usually shut down for the day sometime within the next half an hour, then have to head out to walk the dog.
6PM: Babysitter leaves, so I make dinner for the kids and hang out with them until 7:15 bedtime. Then make dinner for the grown-ups (and by making dinner, I usually mean heating up something that's been semi-premade at the store). If I have lingering threads from the book still in my brain, I may purge them in the manuscript after dinner, but mostly, I'm done for the day.
So that's the general schedule. Obviously, as anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I flip back and forth on the internet, even while writing. Sometimes, my brain needs a 20 second break to sift around and find the right phrasing or whatnot, and often, by tuning out for a few seconds, I find what I need. So I definitely do that too. But for this most part, this is how I get done what I get done. As I said, I don't think it's particularly Herculean. And also obviously, sometimes this shifts. I'm lucky enough that I can pop into my kids' swimming lessons, attend an event at one of their schools, etc.
Any questions? I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff...