Dec 5, 2014

A Day in the Glamorous Life of a Romance Writer....

When people ask about my writing day I know they picture me like this.

Actually, I think they probably add in a few long lunches, a crystal bowl of bon-bons and a pink feather boa....and oh how I wish that were true.

The truth is that my day doesn't pan out anything like that. More like this.

5.45am: Up and out the door with Cosmo the mini schnauzer. We walk along a beautiful stream track and watch the sun come up. Cosmo only has to hear my feet hitting the floor and she's in my room and ready to go. 

7am: We're back home and one of the best parts of the day. Coffee!! My partner-in-parenting-crime does the best flat white known to humanity and I couldn't do without one to start my day. This is the time I'm replying to emails from my editor, or agent, my critique partner Rachel Bailey, or making sure nothing important has slipped by me on Facebook.

8am: After a fight for a free bathroom, supervising four lunches being made, two loads of washing hung out and school shoes being found, I'm off to my day job.

8.45am: I'm the Assistant Head of the English department at an all girls high school with 1100 students and I love it. There's nothing nicer than sharing my love of books and films with amazing young women. At times it's stressful, occasionally manic, but always inspiring. This year I've taught films like "Doubt", books like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Book Thief"and I've read some wonderful writing and had some thought-provoking discussions.
3.30pm: It's home to these crazy cats - the creators of all the washing and the participants in every sport and music lesson known to humanity. On any one day I can be driving between tennis, football, netball, violin, flute, guitar, piano or swimming. It also means I spend quite a bit of time waiting for activities to finish and it's a perfect time to take my trusty Macbook and read over a scene or do some planning or to plug my headphones in and have my latest chapter read back to me.

6.00pm: Back home and it's now that I'm so grateful that my kids and husband love to cook! While they're getting dinner ready and the kids are finishing off chores I'm starting into my writing for the day. It's about now that I'm also grateful that my husband's a winemaker and comes home with these little bottles of perfection.

8.30pm: After dinner I'm into writing completely. The little bits that I've done during the day mean I can now just add words - sometimes days more quickly than others. What I don't get done during the week I can finish on the weekend. I try to stick to a pretty strict daily word count so little-by-little my book takes shape.

10.30pm: Into bed with the chapters from my CP's latest manuscript. I'll read them through once and then make any suggestions. More often than not I get lost in the story and forget I'm supposed to be commenting. By ll.00pm the light's out and I'm dreaming about my latest characters, hoping plot problems will work out in my dreams, and looking forward to doing it all over again tomorrow.

How have your days been this week?


  1. Hi Barbara

    Your day sounds hectic but organized :)

    The last 2 weeks I have been cruising around your home of New Zealand and loved it what a beautiful country but I have to say it was so cold and windy now I am back home to heat and storms and since I retired a couple of days before I went on the cruise I have to start a new way of planning my days :)

    Have Fun

  2. After months of manic writing I've had a bit of a cruisy week this week, Barb. But it did also involve a cheeky bottle of Villa Maria too :-)

  3. Ugh, Barb, not sure I could live on less than 7 hours sleep! Not even with one of those divine looking flat whites to look forward to. :-) Mind you, your craziness does sound like a lot of fun.

    It must be said, a bit more organisation in my life this week may have helped me get more pages down. Still…we all have weeks like that don't we? (Please tell me we do!). ;-)

  4. That is so impressive, Barb. You have blown every excuse I've ever had about not getting the words down - kids, hubby, dog, day job and still those fabulous books just keep rolling. You are such an inspiration!!

  5. Barb, you must be so disciplined to get everything done that you need to! Good on you. My days this week have been work, interrupted by appointments and visits to family. Always something new. I dream of a week of pure writing. Wouldn't that be bliss? Of course, if I had a whole week to myself I'd probably find some reason to interrupt progress.

  6. Wow, your days sound hectic.
    This week in particular was tiring - my pain levels were insanely higher than normal and meant that I've spent most of the week not getting enough hours sleep and not getting enough quality of sleep. It has caught up with me today - ended up leaving work early and having a nap for most of the afternoon. Even with that, I feel like I'm going to crash solidly tonight.
    I definitely need to develop some of that writing self-discipline you seem to have.

    I am curious, if you are willing to share, which vineyard your husband works for since you say he brings home the wine.

  7. You are an inspiration, Barb. Just being mother to four boys must be a feat of organisation, but when you add in being a writer...very impressive.

  8. Wow, you manage to pack so much into each day! That's impressive. I don't really sleep in but I'm not a super early bird either, I can't imagine getting up before 6am every day. You're amazing.

  9. I'm in awe, that is all. You do an amazing job ( many hats to wear). Hugs to you for everything xx

  10. Fantastic organisation, Barb! You've got it down to a very fine art and you're accomplishing so much that you must have the balance just right for you!