A Day in the Life


Me in my starry-eyed youth writing (actually, I was drawing turbots, but for the sake of this post, let’s pretend I was writing). (Photo by Monica Waterston)

I think most people know that I have a master’s degree in English, but only the people who have known me the longest know that I pursued that degree because I had dreams of writing the next great American novel.  I haven’t given up on those dreams, really, though I’ve pursued other things in the meantime.  Nevertheless, even as I’ve been working away at another master’s in library and information science, getting a job, being a librarian, and all of that, I’ve still been working in my spare time on what I would like to be my debut novel (I have ideas/drafts for at least two others, but this is the one I’d want to start with).

I had the idea for this novel and started working on it years ago, and I’ve gone through so many drafts, but I feel like this might actually be the one.  I’m serious enough about it now that I feel like I might be ready to start looking for an agent.  Sometimes I even wonder if it might be possible for me to make me living as a writer.  Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love my job…but part of me still can’t stop thinking about how nice it would be to be able to make my living as a writer.

So I’ve decided to give it a test run.  Try it out to see what it would be like.  Tomorrow, I have the day off work for Cesar Chavez Day, but instead of sleeping in and lazing around watching movies or something, I’ve decided that I’m going to experience a day in the life of a writer.  Starting when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’m going to spend the day as I’d spend it if I were a full-time, professional, working writer.  For tomorrow, instead of thinking of writing as a hobby, I’m going to think of it as a job, and actually get down to the real business of it.

Writing this way – as a serious job, actually working on it for a full 8-hour day – is not something I’ve done since I finished my master’s thesis (a collection of really awful short stories – it was never my genre, but my adviser talked my out of writing a novel and I stupidly listened).  I don’t anticipate it will be all fun and games, but I’d like to give it a shot and see how it feels.  Maybe I’ll hate it and by noon I’ll be back on the couch watching movies. But hopefully, it will feel good, and it will be extra inspiration to finish the novel and seriously pursue publication so that I’ll have the time and resources to go on to write another one.  And another one after that.

So what about you, dear Internet people?  What’s your dream?  I think we all get so stuck in the goings-on of our everyday lives that would lose sight of the dreams that once mattered to us, but making those dreams a reality is probably not as hard as we might think, if we only work up the nerve to try.  So I challenge you to try it out.  Set aside a single day this month to live a day in the life of your dreams.  What would it be like?  And more importantly, what would it take to make it your life, not just one day, but every day?

12 thoughts on “A Day in the Life

  1. For what it's worth, you WERE writing about ten minutes before I took this. 😉 So excited to hear about how tomorrow goes!

    • I just looked at that picture and thought it kind of looked like me signing autographs, which gave me the incredible idea that if I do get published and sign autographs, I should draw turbots on people's books. Like, obnoxiously large turbots that take up the entire title page. And they couldn't be mad about it, cause I'd be the AUTHOR! In fact, people would probably think it was incredibly awesome – I'd be known as that weird author who defaces her own book with turbots.

      • This is why I love you. On mine, I request Norton and Jeeves and the entire population of the Team Kir mansion. Just a heads up. 🙂

  2. You have to find your own rhythm, and it might not be 8 hours straight. And, shucks, I really like your writing about planning to write.

  3. As much as I'd love to accept your challenge, my current life is most unfortunately not conducive to living a day in my dream life.
    However, assuming I *could* live one day like it was exactly the life I wanted, I'd spend it either writing or making/animating a movie. I have so many ideas in my head that, for one reason or another, won't translate well to paper (at least not in my once-capable-now-so-useless hands) but will work well as a movie, even if it is just a short.

    • In fact, if I could turn my random story ideas into movies, shorts, or even perhaps something written, I would do that.
      Or I'd build something. Something tangible. In my personal blog, I've written about how I would love to build a boat. Not just some fiberglass gas-guzzling monstrosity, but a real wooden ship with canvas sails and a flag (Jolly Roger!) and perhaps even a salty wench with a really snarky attitude.
      Such is my life, though, that these ideas will remain locked in my dreams and hopes forever. Unless I win the lottery. I'm glad you can, though, and I hope you find you enjoy the writing. I demand to be the first to read the finished manuscript (assuming Monica doesn't kill me first).

      Also, comment length limits? Fail, WordPress… FAIL.

      • It's not WordPress's fault…it's stupid Intense Debate. It doesn't show half my comments, among other issues. I'd uninstall it, but then I'd lose all the comments that have already been left.

        Anyway, you should totally build a boat! That would be awesome. And yes, when it's finished, you'll be welcome to read it. 🙂

        • If I build a boat, I'll need some salty wenches. Interested? It comes with period-accurate clothing and a parrot.
          Or, if you prefer, you can work the cannons. Oh yes, I will have cannons. LOUD ones.

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