A Day in This Writer’s Life

7.00 am

Wake up early. I am not an early riser. Normally surface about 8.00 am. Definitely not hardworking writer who gets in three hours of writing before breakfast. Am still half asleep then. Feed dog, who unusually for my fifteen-year-old pooch, is still sleeping. Tea and toast (for me not dog).

7.30 am

Half an hour of pyjama yoga while catching up on last night’s television viewing that my partner has thoughtfully saved for me. This is my version of multi-tasking.

8.00 am

Shower and change. Make bed. Put on load of washing. Write shopping list.

8.30 am

Take dog for his morning walk. He is very slow. Still recovering from recent knee reconstruction. In mistaken belief that he was still a young pup, he jumped off couch in mighty leap and completely ruptured his cruciate ligament. While walking dog, think about how to begin next scene. Had some thoughts in car on way home from visiting parents yesterday afternoon. Refine while following dog around neighbourhood as he sniffs every tree and lamp post and a couple of canine bottoms.

9.00 am

Coffee and newspaper at cafe. Stop at supermarket on way home.

9.45 am

Answer emails. Work on website for 30 minutes. Then do tax after receiving nagging email from accountant. Not very complicated (am poor writer). Just not favourite thing to do.

11.30 am

Time to start writing. Have cup of tea first.

11.45 am

Revise yesterday’s work first to get head back into story. Then devote an hour to poring over print map and online maps of mid-19th-century Guangzhou, plus old photographs and traveller’s descriptions I have previously collected. I am trying to work out where in old city to place my action. This is not first occasion I have spent time with these maps. Have already written scene where characters arrive in city but now have to refine location for important scenes to come. There were many changes to city at this period in history so don’t want to make embarrassing mistake!

1.00 pm

Break for lunch. Leftover sweet potato and lentil soup from last night while reading my book club novel. John Grisham. Don’t usually read crime but definitely a page turner. Can see why he sells so many books. Dog has decided I am no fun and is sleeping off morning walk under coffee table in living room.


1.30 pm

Sigh. Must start putting words on screen. Work until 4.30 with short breaks to relieve numb bottom and tired eyes. Not unhappy with product. Achieve about 700 words.

4.30 pm

Take dog and self for afternoon walk while thinking about how to end scene. Lovely sunny day. Top of 30 °C. Tomorrow forecast of 16. That’s Melbourne for you. Four seasons in one day not unknown.

5.00 pm

Resume at computer. Manage another 100 words and end scene.

6.00 pm

Start preparing dinner while thinking about tomorrow’s new scene. Roast cauliflower and chicken pasta with green salad.

7.00 pm

Remainder of day includes, but not limited to: eating, watching The Bachelorette (she finally ditches rude obnoxious one), reading, and communicating with kids who are currently residing overseas (sob, sob).


Well, there you have it. Only four and a half hours of actual ‘writing’ but much other time spent thinking and researching. I actually do much of my writing while walking, driving, cooking, eating. Unfortunately, I also have habit of writing while other people (notably partner) are talking to me. If you’re wondering about flowers at top of page, they are waratahs. One of my favourite flowers and State floral emblem of New South Wales.