A Day in the Life of an Author
Updated: May 6, 2022
I’ve been writing a lot this week. Oh, sure, be happy about that, you wretches! Do you want to hear what it’s really like? You do?
Ass ache. Yes, yes, you know you’re supposed to get up and stretch every hour and all that. You don’t. There is no time when you’re really engrossed in a book. Time does not exist. The timer may go off, and you may not hear it. Or you forgot to set it, because you’re cranking out pages or staring at the screen, lost in thought. Whatever the case, your ass hurts, but you ignore it.
Dehydration. Sure, you poured yourself a big glass of water. It’s still in the kitchen, where you left it, and you just got settled down to work. Your cat is sleeping on your legs, and it’s an honor, and you don’t want to disturb him, plus you’re in the middle of a really good paragraph. It’s only water. Who really needs water? You have room-temperature coffee that tastes like death. You’ll be fine.
Filthy eyeglasses. You’ve only been looking at the screen 18 inches in front of you, so it doesn’t register that there are thumbprints and eyelashes and flecks of toothpaste from that time you remembered to brush your teeth. It’s fine. Who needs to see, right?
Hunger. You just want to get to work. You’ll eat in a little while, you tell yourself. Hours pass. Your stomach growls for half an hour, then gives up. Finally, you stagger to the kitchen, blood sugar crashing, lightheaded from a lack of water and nutrition, and eat everything in the fridge.
The cold, cold world. Or maybe it’s hot. You’ve forgotten what season it is. You take the dog for a walk. Whoops, you’re still in your pajamas and sarcastic t-shirt. Your hair is…oh. Eesh. You pretend to be normal and wave to the neighbors, who keep a cautious distance. That’s fine. You need to get back to work, anyway. It’s been fifteen minutes. Where has the day gone? Panicked, you return to your chair.
Stomachache. Remember that “lunch”? should’ve planned more carefully. Maybe eating the whole box of mac and cheese, plus chips and salsa, plus that giant spoonful of ice cream, plus another coffee was a bad idea. (Hint: it was.) You endure. You could eat a Tums, but they’re in the bathroom, and the cat is on your legs again.
Soggybrain. This is an undiagnosed writerly condition caused by overthinking the problems of fictional people. There are so many of them! Dozens in this book, thousands in your body of work, and why are they all so complicated and angsty? You become unable to finish or start a sentence; you just start talking in the middle. Your spouse or children question the randomness of your statements, which sound like “a better sister because Dad” or “always had liar so can’t.” They sigh, wearily accepting you. Defeated, you must take a nap.
Coma Naps. Soggybrain cannot take anymore. You slept poorly last night (was it last night?), so you flop into bed and sleep. This is no power nap. This is a coma. It is not restful as much as a baseball bat to the head.
Time confusion. You wake up. What day is it? What hour? What season? Does it really matter?
Binge-watching. You’ve been writing for many, many hours. You don’t smell so good. Your hair is sticky. It’s time for…Netflix! Hooray for the many shows that don’t remind you of your book! Glow Up! Hoarders! This Old House! Something with lots of murders in it! Netflix pops in to ask you if you’re still watching. You are. Stop judging, Netflix! It’s been a day, okay?
Very late bedtime. Is it 2 a.m. already? That nap really screwed you up. Should you go to bed, or should you watch one more episode and maybe finish that ice cream? You finish the ice cream. You go to bed and have vivid dreams and thrash around.
Repetition. Hey. It’s a living. Besides, ass-ache and soggybrain and dehydration aside, there’s nothing better.
Have a great week, gang!