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Brian J. W. Lee is a writer. When he's not writing, he's plotting to plunge the world in a deep chasm of terror, darkness and screams. Sorry, did I get carried away?

Monday, 19 September 2016

A Typical Day in the Life of Brian

When my schoolmates and friends said that our days in university will be missed, I scoffed at them. I, for one, felt then that my life could use a little more freedom from the lecture halls and professors and academic straitjacket. I needed focus, I needed the space to do what I want, to write and eventually get published.

As some of you may know, I couldn't even wait for the exams to be over to get crackin' and clackin' words on a page, and I nearly got retained for it. But those were the days! With that crisis over and my graduation guaranteed, I would move on dedicate my life fully to literary pursuits.

Back then, my days were centred around putting words on a page. I had no other occupations, ambitions nor passion.

  • I would wake up in the morning. Usually at 9+ am.

  • Have a good breakfast, the most important meal of the day.

  • Then I let my mind dig in on some reading, as well as games, and sometimes television. This helps with inspiration and ungrounding the mind for creative pursuits.

  • Human interaction is important too, especially with 'fresher' people, rather than ancient contacts you'd known all your life who tends to be grouchy. Learning about people is important. The estranged writer trope is certainly a rare case.

  • As you may have noticed, I don't write in the mornings. I don't always write in the afternoons, but I do it common enough.

  • I work out 1,000 words throughout the afternoon (sometimes), evening, night and midnight.

  • On average, I write about 500 words an hour, or 8.33 words a minute. This is likely due to the auxiliary activities of a writer: thinking, plotting, planning, immediate edits, rewriting, etc. So, 2 hours a day of writing, unless I'm filling backlog or catching up with deadlines.

  • My work tends to be spread out with chores (such as laundry or exercising) and entertainment/inspiration in between.

  • If the day is good, or if I have backlog to fill or deadlines to fear, I can easily put down up to 2,000 to 4,500 (my record) words.

  • Sleep by 12+ to 1+ am.

But those days are over. I am now a working adult, That means wrapping all that around my day job. The most important thing is to breathe life into my world at the end of the day. Thus evolves my schedule:

  • Wake up in the morning at 6:45am.

  • Have a good breakfast.

  • Go to work.

  • Work will provide much of the human interaction you need. A narrow spectrum, but nonetheless just enough.

  • Entertainment and inspiration will have to be squirrelled in here and there, in tiny spurts, usually from the internet in between tasks.

  • Similarly, my writing will have to be squeezed in between tasks.

  • Back home, time will be taken up by chores (including laundry and exercise) and Triple-A grade entertainment and inspiration. On some days, I teach tuition for a side income.

  • More writing to be done at home. It should all add up to 1,000 words by the end of the day. This can sometimes be achieved entirely in office.

  • Sleep by 12:45am, though sometimes unconsciousness sets in as early as in the middle of writing at 11+ pm.

  • The weekends can present a chance to go back to a more writing-centred routine as in the above, but exhaustion may render it difficult.
Yep, so that's basically my life these days. Writing has been forcibly displaced as the first love of my life, with me getting dragged into a shotgun wedding with my job by the necessities of survival. An affair is inevitable. It kinda helps that my 'wife' treats me poorly, with poor benefits, mediocre pay, lousy work culture and all the pride sapped by poor clients and even poorer business and job prospects.

My plan for the future is to somehow achieve greater focus in my writing, and push up my output to 2,000 words a day, which is neutral on the Stephen King scale. That means 4 hours of writing, on average, a day.

Hopefully, with that kind of breakthrough, I might even be able to achieve writing-nirvana, and put in over 4,000 words on some days when I transcend the worldly worries that are holding me back.

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