Thursday, January 19, 2012

My New Routine

I'm sure some of you may wonder exactly how I fill my days now that I'm trying to make a go of it as a full-time novelist.  Most of you probably think that it involves "searching for inspiration" at the bottom of a bong or bottle, or by watching cable all day long and hoping that by some weird process of osmosis, it somehow sparks my creative side into a flurry.

Though that process may work for some folks, that's not how I do business when I'm serious about accomplishing something.  I'm treating this gig like a full-time job, with the understanding that, being a creative endeavor, it's sometimes tough to go full-bore for long stretches at a time.  This doesn't mean screwing around on the internet for hours during a writing session, but a short five or ten minutes every hour-and-a-half or so often serves as a "mini-recharge," and allows me to dedicate most of my productive time to writing.

So in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I'd go through what a "typical day" is like for me right now.

8:30 am: Wake up, shower (this can be as early as 5:30 depending on whether or not I'm filling in on IBON in the morning, taking people to the airport, etc.)

9:15 am: Breakfast--three eggs, scrambled.  Read newspaper and/or favorite blogs for an hour or so.

10:15-10:30 am: Go to gym, work out for an hour or so.

11:30-11:45 am: Starbucks, shower, lunch (usually fruit and chocolate milk)

Noon: Start writing. Shoot for at least 3,000 words per day, a pace that I've somewhat surprisingly been able to keep up pretty well so far.

5:30-6:00 pm: Finish up novel writing for the day, answer any e-mails sent to me, start writing blog post.

6:30 pm: Publish blog post. Dinner.

7:00 pm: Spend another hour to two hours reading blogs about self-publishing, publicity, marketing, or anything else that will ultimately help get my book into the hands of readers.

9:00-10:00 pm (or so): Read for pleasure, watch TV, or indulge in some videogame time.

Late night: Watch something on Netflix or a movie to try to wind down.

Midnight-1:00 am: try to fall asleep, repeat again in the morning.

It's not necessarily a glamorous lifestyle at the moment, but it works, as I continue to make steady progress on the novel.

Perhaps most importantly (and unaccounted for in the schedule above) is that I'm often thinking of my novel while watching TV, or reading blogs, or working out. It's not something that I really "leave during the work day," as I constantly have my trusty notepad around to jot down ideas that come to me in the off-hours. Some of these ideas have been great, others, not so much.

I think the larger point to take away is that some people complain about a job that they "take home with them," and find themselves thinking about constantly.  Instead, (I think) I've finally found one where I don't care whether or not I'm thinking about it in my time off, and actually enjoy "work" during the day.

Are there things that I could improve upon in the schedule? Of course.  I'd love to build up creative stamina to the point where I could go a full eight, productive hours every day, just plugging in brilliance from my brain directly to the screen of my Mac.  But I'm sure forging a connection like that takes time, and probably won't even come until thousands upon thousands of hours of practice, if at all.

In the meanwhile, in true Dr. Leo, I'll continue taking "Baby Steps" toward my ultimate goal of finishing this thing up by April.  As ambitious as it sounds, barring any setbacks, I should be right on schedule.

Damn it--there I go jinxing myself again...

Days: 9
Words: 23,033
Pages: 79

D.J. Gelner covers the Rams beat for, and is an aspiring author.  Follow him on twitter (@djgelner) or facebook (here).  E-mail him at  You can also listen to his podcast (Bottle and Cans) here. 

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