A Day in the Life

Or how I manage to get through the day and stay sane (sort of)

Every so often, someone will comment on the fact that I write, I have a full-time job, a family, a husband, and I freelance edit and say, “How do you do all that?”

So, my day in a nutshell (Monday through Friday at least – weekends, all bets are off):

5:30am – the alarm goes off. I ignore it.

6:30am – husband gets out of bed. I grumble, and do my best to ignore it and go back to sleep.

6:40am – still grumbling, I get out of bed, shout at the kids to get up, and get into the shower.

6:50am – get out of shower, shout at kids again, start daily beautification routine (that I’m not sure is successful, but one must try)

7:00am – shout at kids again

7:20am – finish in bathroom, shout at kids again, figure out what to wear (thank goodness for the casual workplace)

7:30am – go downstairs to find kids in various states of readiness; pack my own lunch

7:30am-7:50am – continue to yell at kids to get ready

7:55am – rush out of house because we really wanted to leave fifteen minutes ago (we never make it – I don’t know why we bother)

8:00am – drop kids off at school after being ignored for entire car trip (teenagers – and almost teenagers)

8:00am-8:30am – commute into city, grumbling about how much I hate commuting, traffic, mornings, and wishing I stayed in bed

8:30am – park (hopefully not that far away) and trudge 2-3 blocks to office, grumbling all the way

8:30am-12:00pm – day job time; perform various activities, many of which I have no clue whether they make a difference in the world; check Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to relieve my mind.

12:00pm-1:00pm – ah, my happy place; retreat with personal computer to lunch area, tune out the world, and work on the current WIP; some days I murder people, some days I write fantasy; I feel alive, happy, and that life is worth living

1:00pm-4:30pm – back to day job activities; try not to spend too much time daydreaming about the plot problems I uncovered at lunch, or just how to further torture my favorite imaginary friends

4:30pm – leave work, walk to car, and spend entire commute AGAIN grumbling about how much I hate commuting and city traffic; nearly get into several accidents because I am still thinking about today’s plot problems, or dreaming up new trouble

5:00pm – rush into the house and frantically try to figure out what’s for dinner (mostly because The Girl has either forgotten about food or is busy doing homework, but The Boy would gladly eat the house he’s so hungry)

5:30pm-8:30pm – various evening activities, which SOMETIMES includes more fiction work (and when it does, I’m back in my happy place, although it frequently leads to me totally forgetting to do something important, like make sure people have clean clothes for tomorrow)

8:30pm-10:00pm – collapse, sometimes in front of the TV, often with The Husband (because he deserves a little attention, right?), although frequently I really just want to spend more time with my favorite imaginary friends.

10:00pm-ish – go to bed, dream of my imaginary friends, and get ready to do it all over again.

I guess, on some level, it’s a little crazy. Of course, one could argue that we’re all a little crazy – it’s all just a matter of degrees. And yes, sometimes I do feel as though I’m hanging on by the smallest of twigs. What comes through in those times is fiction – mostly writing it, often reading it. That hour at lunch, those stolen hours in the evening? Bliss, I tell you – pure bliss. Those hours are what make me feel alive, what make all the rest worth it. It’s what keeps me going.

Maybe it’s A Good Thing that I can’t spend all day with my imaginary friends. People might think I’m weirder than they already do.

So readers, what gets you through your daily grind and makes you feel alive?

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Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She's worked for fifteen years in the corporate world, but finds making things up is far more satisfying than writing software manuals. A lifelong mystery fan, her short fiction has been published in online magazines Uppagus and Mysterical-e. She has also had stories included in Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales, Blood on the Bayou (the 2016 Bouchercon anthology), Fish Out of Water, and Mystery Most Historical. She is a past president of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Visit her online at http://lizmilliron.com, find her on Facebook at https://facebook.com/LizMilliron, or follow her on Twitter (@LizMilliron).

10 thoughts on “A Day in the Life”

  1. Oh, yes. This is a perfect description of working and parenting (which I know very little about) and editing and writing. My favorite line was “some days I murder people,” which just goes to show that I have not succeeded in staying sane myself.

  2. This was wonderful. So similar to my own life, you remind me that I’m not alone (and I also that once the puppy is potty-trained, I could use my lunch hours more effectively). It’s a constant juggle, isn’t it? Thank goodness for our writer friends and colleagues, and tolerant families, too. (I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler either, Mary!)

  3. Mary, I always found “casual workplace attire” to be the most stressful of all of the dress codes! I remember how valuable that stolen lunch time hour was, and sometimes I still duplicate it with a quick one hour stop off at a library. I’m always more productive when the pressure is on.

  4. Theresa, I really want the mug that says, “Don’t annoy the writer. She will put you in a book and kill you.” And I’m going to take it to work because when I say, “I kill people for fun and profit” (in response to the “what do you write” question), I always get funny looks. 😉

    Pamela, I think there are more people in our situation than most think. We should start a national support group – “working writers anonymous” or something.

    Diane, I guess it’s what you’re used to. For me, not having to iron shirts and skirts is heaven. Just grab a pair of jeans, a shirt, throw on some shoes, and go!

  5. You are amazing! (And I completely relate to this, every single day: “we never make it – I don’t know why we bother.”)

    It’s hard not to give up on the writing sometimes…what do you do when it all seems impossible?

    I really struggle with the exhaustion that comes from the day job (I call it that, but it really does take place in both the day and night…there’s always grading and prepping to be done). Oh, and parenting!!!!!

    But…I grab my writing time wherever I can find it. Usually either very, very early or very, very late.

  6. Thanks, Cynthia. It’s so true. I found that when I don’t grab that writing time (last night it was after dinner), my day is just “off” and I go to bed feeling I didn’t have a complete day. I don’t have to do much, just something.

    And I think ever parent can relate to “we never make it – I don’t know why we bother.” My two were up early today and we STILL didn’t walk out the door until 7:55!

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