Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee, A Writer's Life For Me


Remember this song from Pinocchio?

Hi-diddle-dee-dee
A writer’s life for me
A high silk hat and a silver cane
A watch of gold with a diamond chain

Hi-diddle-dee-day
A writer’s life is gay
It’s great to be a celebrity
A writer’s life for me

Hi-diddle-dee-dum
A writer’s life is fun

Hi-diddle-dee-dee
A writer’s life for me
A wax mustache and a beaver coat
A pony cart and a billy goat

Hi-diddle-dee-dum
A writer’s life is fun
You wear your hair in a pompadour
You ride around in a coach and four
You stop and buy out a candy store
A writer’s life for me!

(Lyrics: Ned Washington, except for my changes)


Not exactly as you remember? Can you spot my changes? Pinocchio had been convinced he would be an actor, not a writer. But hey, at one time I thought that’s what a writer’s life would be. Sort of.

There’ve been no coaches for me, I don’t have a beaver coat, and my hair will never be in a pompadour, so here’s my updated version of what I’d like my writer’s life to be:

I get up early to write. Early is good because the house is quiet and there are no distractions. I’m not tempted by the Internet or Twitter or Facebook that early, for some odd reason. I’m ready to write. After I get my brain to wake up, of course.

I write until my brain has had enough or the muse has left the building. Or both, which is usually the case. That might happen in two hours or it might happen in four. Rarely more than four. I write in my office, which has a lock on the door to prevent others from wandering in to give me a kiss or ask me if I need anything or to tell me they’re going to the store.

I write every day. EVERY DAY. Even Christmas--at least a page--and even on my birthday. Even when my wife and I go away for the weekend. If I’m writing, I’m writing. I can take a break from editing or formatting, but not writing. The muse is fickle and does not like to be ignored. Ignore the muse and she might leave me alone for days or weeks, and that would be bad.

Once I’ve written, the rest of the day is mine. I’ll exercise, spend time with family, cook, read, and maybe even relax in front of the TV with my wife. Maybe do some writing-business like talk to my agent or publisher.

That’s about it for my dream writer’s-life, when I’m creating. If I’m editing, I can do that anywhere there’s a desk. Changes are made on paper then input into the computer later. Easy.


In reality, as I’m not yet supporting my family with my writing and I have a day job, I write at odd times and in odd places. We don’t have a spare room in our condo so I have to leave the house to find the solitude I need.

I can write almost anywhere family or friends are not, because they feel like they’ve got to talk to me even though they see I’m busy writing: the library, a coffee shop, a cafĂ©, the break area of a grocery store ... Almost anywhere.

When writing in public, I have my noise-canceling headphones--I don’t care if people think I’m being rude wearing them in public--and I write with the either the OmmWriter or iA Writer apps on my iPad. OmmWriter is nice for times I’m writing in noisy environments because it comes with it’s own soundtrack. Writer is simpler to use and links with Dropbox for easy access to my files.

My time is restricted now; I don’t have four consecutive hours for writing every day. I have to take what I can get, when I can get it. It’s almost impossible for me to write in the evening; my brain seems to be unable to focus on writing then. I suppose I could train it to, but I like to spend that time with my wife.

And of course, there is currently no agent or publisher to talk business with; I’m self-published. They may change, or it may not.


If you write, what is your ideal writing day or schedule? What compromises do you have to make now because of family commitments or a day job?