Hello all! Guess what day today is! That’s right, it’s the first Monday in February! That means it’s time for the very first guest post in my series, “A Day in the Life of…”
For this series, there will be a new guest post every Monday until I run out of guests. As always, if you are a writer and want to participate, comment here, or contact me on Facebook or Twitter!
And now, *drum roll* our very first guest- Sarah Kay Moll!
When I first started reading this blog, it taught me a new word: Hypergraphia. The perfect word for my days, which are shaped by the overwhelming urge to write.
Sarah Kay Moll, Author
I’d better warn you, a day in my life involves a lot of cat cuddles and a lot of time with my butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard. It involves agonizing over word choice and attempting to spell “silhouette” about ten times before letting spellcheck sort it out.
At about 7:30 in the morning I sit down with a cup of coffee and some toast. I’m in my comfiest clothes (because really, who’s going to see me?) and on most days I’m surrounded by silence, which is best.
I fire up Scrivener, my writing tool of choice. I read a few pages to re-orient myself in the story, and then, on a good day, I’ll start typing away. On days when I just can’t get my mojo flowing, I read over my drafts or edit my other novel.
My Writing Desk
My process is a little unusual, or so I’ve been told. I can’t write linearly, instead jumping around to whichever part of the story catches my fancy. I re-write constantly, refining the scenes or just trying to determine the shape of the story.
Every scene that makes it into a final draft has been re-written at least four or five times, with some difficult ones getting ten or more re-writes. I wrote a million words on my completed (not yet published) novel, but only about 90,000 made it into that final draft.
If I’m lucky, I write for an hour or two, then I work on my weekly blog post or spend some time critiquing my friends’ books. After that, it’s time to move around, which means…housework. To get through the time spent on dishes and laundry, I listen to a lot of podcasts.
So messy! Why does this keep happening?
I do my best to find podcasts that relate in some way to what I’m writing. Since I’m currently working on a novel about a criminal, I’ve been listening to podcasts on everything from how police interrogation works to a true story about a man who was robbing banks…just for fun. I’ve also found some great podcasts on writing and the publishing industry.
I make soundtracks for my novel, and listen to them as I go for walks or do housework, so that I can be thinking about the story even when I’m not writing. If you’re curious about what I’m working on, imagine a crime boss who could sing Uptown Funk on karaoke night and totally pull it off.
My day from there goes about the same, alternating housework and writing, with some time thrown in there for Twitter, Facebook, and Skyping with some writing friends of mine.
My cat, Sylvanas, often tries to keep me from housework, usually by being underfoot the whole time. Her campaign of procrastination doesn’t stop there, however. She does her best to distract me from writing by climbing into my lap and purring, or simply being so cute I can’t help but take pictures of her instead of working.
She’s recently discovered that she can eat what I eat. (I don’t give her scraps, I swear it! That was only one time. One time!) Yesterday, she was trying to bat Cheetos out of my hand. The day before, she tried to stick her nose in a bowl of ice cream. I may never eat or write in peace again, but when I look at this face, it’s totally worth it.
My workday ends at five, and shifts over to reading time. I learn the most about writing from reading good books, so I try to set aside some time every day for reading. (That and my to-read list is almost 200 books long!) I just picked up State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I loved her novel Bel Canto, so I’m excited to read another one of hers. I’m also in the middle of the collected poems of Ranier Maria Rilke, which I’m very much enjoying.
After reading time is over I make dinner, then I play video games, watch TV, and let my mind relax for a few hours. I go to bed, and am usually woken at 3 am by a warm ball of fur sleeping on my back and purring in my ear. In the morning, I start it all over again.
Some of my weird habits:
I drink a lot of caffeine. I mean, a lot. Even for a writer.
I baby talk to my cat when no one’s around.
Sometimes when I’m cleaning I crank up Lady Gaga and dance around the kitchen singing along to Bad Romance. (The cat might complain about this, but I have my headphones on so I can’t hear her.)
For a month after I started writing my first novel, I dreamed about the characters every night.
My main character’s name is the first half of my name backwards. (Totally unintentional.)
And that’s me! But this doesn’t have to be goodbye. I run a blog, Million Words, where I find and post resources and advice for writers. I’m also on Twitter (@skmoll), Google+, and Goodreads.
Thanks for having me, Allie!
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! I love your cat pictures, and now I have Uptown Funk stuck in my head (for the millionth time).