It’s Monday again! That means it’s time for another guest post! *cheers* This week’s guest is *drumroll* Rebecca N. McKinnon!
My name’s Rebecca, and I’ve been a writer all my life. But I definitely haven’t written the same way for that entire time. What attracted me to Allie’s Day in the Life series was its recognition of that fact. Allie’s raw, unedited post says what so many of us need to hear: It’s okay to have a life around your writing. In fact, it’s expected. We’re not word count machines, and creativity rarely walks in through the same door twice. I needed to hear that message over all the loud and intimidating New Years’ Resolutions blog posts.
I picked today (Thursday, January 14, 2016) to highlight, because I know I don’t have any of my resolutions down to a routine yet. Initially I wanted to wait until a day when I had somehow “gotten my act together”. I pictured this incredible day of perfection, which would only be possible if I was my FUTURE SELF. You know, that girl who meets every deadline and exercises daily. Yeah, right. Turns out that 2016 has actually been about self-acceptance for me. Knowing that I’ve only got PRESENT ME and that FUTURE GIRL is a figment and a distraction. So, here’s my day, warts and all:
8AM: I woke up about an hour after I wanted to because I’d relied on my partner Topher’s alarm instead of my own, and he’d turned his off in his sleep, so we were both late! 😛 I walked a few feet over to my home office, which is directly beside my bed. I opened my Moleskine Professional Series Project Planning Notebook (yeah, that’s its God-given name, for real) and reviewed the to-do list I’d written the night before: 2 loads of laundry, 1 “weekly” chore, daily chores, make daily routines list, walk Leia 3 miles, crit ch 2 & 3 of Breaking Orbit. I uncapped a nearby pen and started my first “LOG”, journaling that,
“Today I’m going to keep track of how I spend my time. I hope this will be a good exercise in control and understanding of self and tasks.”
That’s pretty standard daily bullet journal reflection crap for me. I make fun of it, but it works. Every day that I consistently review and write in my planner is a good day. It does wonders for my mood.
8-8:45AM: I actually did a new routine I’ve been meaning to try out: I cooked and ate a healthy breakfast with my usual French Roast coffee brew. I sound fancy, but don’t worry; it’s Costco brand! 😉 The egg + salsa wrap was indeed delicious. Much healthier than my usual toast or bagel.
8:45-9:30AM: Still in my pajamas, I started my work day. 😀 I researched some co-working spaces in the Orlando area, and two of them actually have free days next week, so I put those on my digital calendar. While I love my home office, I despise the distractions I endure at home. I had come up with the idea of working outside the home at least one day a week after a recent brainstorming session I did with my partner. I love bouncing my ideas and troubles off him. He endures me because he thinks I’m cool or something.
9:30-10AM: Okay, here’s an embarrassing one. I get really paranoid that I’ve published blogs that are FULL OF TYPOS. So I often log into my WordPress just to re-read my most recent published blog. Sometimes I do find and fix a typo! Most of the time I do not. This was one of those most of the times. I checked my notifications in Tweetdeck after the blog thing, only following back the accounts that tweet interesting stuff. So, ya know, not most of them.
10:15AM: Decided to start the laundry.
10:15-11AM: I decided to get back into a very old routine of mine, which was a specific “My Routine” yoga workout I’d set up in WiiFitU last year. I always feel fantastic after yoga, but I’ve always struggled to make it a habit. I hope I can keep it up.
11-11:15AM: Turned laundry. Put in second load.
11:15-11:45AM: Dog calls! I took my golden retriever Leia on a 1.2 mile walk. She’s a demanding and energetic pup, but I get so much love and free exercise out of the deal. Plus it gives me time to listen to my podcasts. Today it was Women of the Hour: Episode 1 (Friendship). I Snapchatted this picture while walking:
11:45AM-NOON: I finally showered and dressed. My “work” outfit consists of a tank top and what looks like pajama pants but technically aren’t. XD Oh, and Leia wouldn’t stop sticking her head into the tub and licking the shower curtain, so I went ahead and gave her a bath too. Silly puppy. And hey! That counted as my “weekly” chore! 😉
NOON-12:20PM: After giving Leia a bone to occupy herself with, I sat down to start my writing day… then my phone rang. I usually hate my phone (little distraction box) when I’m trying to work, but the caller ID told me a dear friend was calling. I’m glad I answered and caught up with her; friendships need maintenance to last.
So my writing/work days usually consist of me making some kind of goal, whether it be a word count for my novel or a chapter number goal for my Scribophile critiques. I recently decided not to critique and work on my novel on the same days; it feels like a sumo wrestling match between my inner editor and my inner creative. Way too stressful. So today was a critiquing day.
12:20-12:35PM: I started my first chapter critique but, barely ten minutes in, I heard a noise that concerned me. Dog-like and sneaky, coming from the living room. Leia wasn’t around, and I know her well enough to not trust her. I found her and my black cat Midna standing in the middle of the living room way too still and quiet to be up to anything good and separated them before bringing Leia back into the bedroom with me.
12:35-1:35PM: A decent hour of critting before I realized I needed more coffee. Brewed a second cup and ate a little snack (leftover wonton) while I read a short story in one of my favorite publications, Hippocampus Magazine.
1:35-2PM: Turned over and folded the laundry like a good lil’ homemaker.
2-2:30PM: Didn’t really feel like a good lil’ homemaker anymore (folding/putting away takes FOREVERRR) so I distracted myself by starting the 90s rap dance station on Google Play Music. Oh man did I send a lot of Snaps. Of me dancing. And rapping. Yep.
.@alliemayauthor For example, right now I am sending snaps of me dancing to rap music while folding laundry. Can’t say I #amwriting LOL 😝
— Rebecca N. McKinnon (@rnmckinnon) January 14, 2016
2:30-3PM: I just wanna put a different album on my phone real quick. That was my thought before starting a 30 minute ‘transferring files from my phone to my Dropbox account’ endeavor. Because my phone’s storage was too full. Yeeeaaaahhhh.
3-3:30PM: Leia needed to go out again, so I walked her another mile while I listened to music.
4-4:15PM: I had put in a third, smaller load of laundry on top of my 2 load goal, and I was regretting that decision around this time, but I got it folded and done anyway.
4:15-4:45PM: I realized I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so I ate a hotdog while I returned green paint to Abbott in Fallout 4.
4:45-5:10PM: I was still critting the same first chapter when Topher called, interrupting me. But I love him. So I answered.
5:10-5:30PM: We talked about our days over the phone, and he let me go just as our roommate walked in. I caught up on the roomie’s day as well before excusing myself, returning to my office.
5:30-6:15PM: I kept critting that one chapter (when would it end??) and Topher, bless his heart, waited as long as he could before walking into the bedroom, knowing his intrusion would interrupt me. It did. I lost focus.
6:15-7PM: But I got immediately back to it and finally finished my first chapter critique of the day. It clocked in at a whopping 3,345 words. For y’all Scribophile members, you know that’s a friggin’ long critique. Well, I had a lot to say. LOL.
7-7:15PM: Another vice of mine… I love showers and baths. One a day isn’t enough for me. Thankfully water’s included in our rent. Soooo I hopped right in that shower again!! 😛
7:15-7:25PM: WOW! Back pain!! I have scoliosis, and it friggin’ hurts from time to time. I begrudgingly put on my posture corrector over my outfit and popped Ibuprofen. This is how pleased I was about it:
I pet some animals and gave Topher a long hug. The posture corrector takes the back pain away but causes discomfort in my shoulders (it’s pulling back muscles in there) and armpits (it just rubs me the wrong way). I allowed myself a moment of annoyance at my chronic pain before I got back to work.
7:25-7:45PM: I began critiquing the second chapter on my crit to-do list, hoping this one would go much faster than the last. And, of course, I experienced yet another distraction in the form of a kid in my neighborhood screaming, “MY BALL! MY BAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!” right outside my window. Thanks, kid.
7:45-7:55PM: I got another ten minutes of work in before Topher walked in the bedroom again. He crated Leia then walked out, leaving the bedroom door open, the TV blaring in from the living room. I will admit, I lost my patience and yelled, “TOPHER!!!!!” He returned and immediately closed the door without me even having to tell him to. He just knows my writing zone that well. Or the tone behind my shouting. One of those things.
7:55-8:50PM: I finished critiquing that second chapter, and thankfully, it took a lot less time because I had fewer words to say…only 1,300 of them, to be exact. Still lengthier than most Scribophile crits but about average for me.
8:50-9:10PM: Did my daily chores real quick (vacuuming/sweeping, which is necessary in a four animal household). I snapped off my posture corrector as one might snap off a particularly loathsome bra after a long day.
9:10-9:45PM: We ran out of milk, and I very much needed to get out of the house. The stir crazy left me as Topher and I went to Publix, which is an awesome grocery chain in the Southern US. Their slogan is, “Where shopping is a pleasure”, and it definitely felt pleasurable. Topher got me mac and cheese and popcorn chicken from their deli, because he’s a nice guy who knows how much I love carbs and fried food.
9:45-MIDNIGHT: I mixed chicken and mac and cheese in a bowl, cracked open a Mr. Pibb, and sat back down in my office. I’d decided to go ahead and write this blog post, even though I had every reason in the world to put it off. Why? Because after a day of hard critiques and enough laundry to cry, I wanted to write something fun. Just because I wanted to. 🙂 And it was a blast! And now I’m able to check into my daily accountability group on Scribophile saying I wrote an extra 2,000 words on top of my 4,600 words of critique.
Overall, good day. Thanks for sticking around to the end.
Routines I Didn’t Do But That I Might One Day Soon, Hopefully:
– Drink more friggin’ water.
– Stretches I learned while in physical therapy for my scoliosis
– Use my gratitude journal.
– Meditation in The Daily Writer
– Read more blog posts
– Whatever else I want!! 😛