Want to know what a full-time writer does all day? Think it's all diaphanous scarves, mugs of tea, story-boarding and self-congratulation?
Well then, my friends, I am here to correct you, and show you that IN FACT, it's all semi-opaque scarves, mugs of coffee, story-boarding and excruciating moments of self-doubt!
I've decided today's blog post will be a slice-of-life feature; I documented an average Monday and am posting it, along with helpful visual aids, for your reading/viewing pleasure. Welcome to a Day In The Life...of Lauren Oliver!
7:15. Alarm goes off. Ironically, when I worked a full-time desk job and had to get up early, I never did; now that I work for myself, however, I usually can't sleep late. I'm too excited by my work.
7:22. Three sun-salutations in the kitchen: this is the extent of my yoga. Ohmmm.
7:30-9:30. During these two hours, I do my writing. Sometimes my writing takes far longer than two hours; sometimes I can finish in only one hour! I write 1,000 words per day of whatever novel I am currently working on, unless I am working on two very challenging books (as is the case now), in which case I fudge it. Since I am writing both a middle-grade and a teen novel simultaneously, I write 500 words of the middle-grade and 750 words of the YA novel each day, every day. This is challenging but manageable; it keeps me on a steady pace, while also preventing burn out.
During this time, I also consume:
5 cups of coffee
toast with peanut butter
Incidentally, this is what I eat for breakfast every day, although sometimes I sub in a grapefruit for a mango. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit. Writers usually are, I find. Maybe it's because we need to navigate the chaos of all these imagined worlds--we like the real world to be familiar!
This is my desk:
(Incidentally, it is also my dining room table!)
10:00. Pilates!! It's so nice to do something purely physical after I've been flexing my brain (and cramping my fingers) all morning. I love my instructor, Spela. She says things like, "Easy ankles, easy ankles, inward rotation, more buoyancy in the abs." I don't really understand what any of it means, but her accent is adorable and my abs will definitely be bikini-ready this year.
11:30. Showered and dressed, which is actually not necessarily common nowadays. I can go whole weeks in my pajamas, which is good for my laziness but bad for my romantic/social life. I hop in the F train to head into the city; I have to pick up a check from my agency, Foundry Media, and visit with my agent extraordinaire, Stephen Barbara. I love visiting Foundry. The agency has a beautiful penthouse space just next to Union Square, and going there always makes me feel majorly legit. I mean, c'mon. Look at my agent?? How for realzies does HE look?
12:30. I deposit a check. I have mastered the impressive art of receiving money just after my account gets overdrawn. Today, the check clears as my account registers -12.30. Success! Time to go shopping...
1:00. ...Except I can't, because I have a doctor's appointment. Blech. Don't worry, guys!! I'm okay!!! (I know, I know; your anxiety was spiking.) It was just a check-up.
2:30. Back to Brooklyn. In the train I make some notes about some new projects. I often write on my Blackberry; in fact, I wrote the majority of Before I Fall this way, while commuting between my jobs and graduate school. I type an email on my phone and send it to myself when I'm out of the subway. See that speckled white thing under the phone that looks like a strange variety of unhealthy fish? That's my thigh. Good thing I'm headed to Mexico in a few weeks. Ay, Querida. Mama needs some sun.
3:30. My friend Corey, also a YA writer, is waiting on my doorstep when I show up. The thing about writing is that it can be kind of lonely; you spend so much time by yourself, and you're deprived of the social element of office life. (The social element was my favorite part of office life, actually--that, and the free Swiss Miss hot chocolate.) So recently I've started breaking up my days by meeting up with writer friends and working side-by-side. Even if we're not really speaking, it feels less isolated--less like work, more like fun.
6:30. I say goodbye to Corey just as my dad arrives. He recently moved a few blocks away from him, so now I can stop by a bunch and ask him if I can borrow sugar and stuff like that. (Literally. Recently, after finishing a Pilates session, I got tea and the barista forgot to put sugar in it--thankfully I was only a block away from my dad's crib!) We walk to a delicious Italian place in the 'hood and have dinner. Conversation topics include: my dad's new ipad (I love how you spend heaps of money just to approximate the sensation of getting to turn book pages! Brilliant.), and how people turn into the people they turn into--specifically, how I've turned into the person I am. My dad studies psychopaths, so that's a favorite topic of his; and since I'm his daughter, I'm a favorite topic of his. Incidentally, in case you are concerned, he does NOT think I am a psychopath. Score!
There was a really pretty sunset. I took a pic while walking back from the restaurant...
9:00. I meet up with my good friend Emily H at one of my favorite bars, Double Windsor, and remember once again that Park Slope/Windsor Terrace is essentially a coven for publishing people. Emily is one of my friends from Penguin--we used to work together there--and no sooner have we waltzed in the door than we run into Michael Stearns, a major NYC literary agent (who, incidentally, I had just seen the previous week at a small industry event). Cozy! That's why you have to be NICE, people: even in New York, you will run into the same people all the time.
A beer and a bite of Em's grilled cheese later, and I was in bed by 11 p.m....ready for a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call, as I had to fly to the Borders headquarters in Ann Arbor the following day (yesterday) for lunch. But that's a whole different Day In The Life Of...
So--what did YOU do on Monday?