Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tip O'Day #383 - Compare & Contrast

Guest blogger Doris Meredith looks at two different authors.

The following is absolutely true. No gender is bias intended as I know stay-at-home writer dads who share Writer Two's schedule. The names are changed to prevent my being sued by Writer One. Writer Two is yours truly.

The writing lives of individual writers differ depending on circumstances, but some circumstances are better than others. I decided to use that old high school English class device that made students break out in a sweat: Compare and contrast two writers' daily schedules.

Writer One rises from his bed at 7:00 after a night of restful, uninterrupted sleep, eats a light breakfast with wife, and retires to his paneled, book-lined office. From 8:00-9:30, he edits the previous day's work. At 9:30 his wife brings him hot coffee.

Writer Two rises from her bed at 7:00 a.m. after giving her son his asthma medicine at 2:00 a.m., and soothing her daughter after his nightmare. At 7:30 she fixes breakfast for her husband and children; at 8:00 takes the children to school. At 8:30 returns to school because children forgot their lunches. At 9:00 Writer Two cleans the kitchen, puts first load of clothes in washer, empties the trash, writes checks for overdue bills, and finally takes a phone call from the school nurse (“Your daughter has a headache and can we have permission to give an aspirin?”). From 9:30-10:00 she edits the previous day's work. At 10:30 she picks up her daughter after another call from the school nurse. After giving her daughter a ginger ale and the TV remote, she reheats a cup of coffee and takes two aspirin.

Writer One works on latest book from 9:45-11:45 a.m., when he calls his agent to discuss an upcoming book tour and his need for a publisher-funded car and driver. At 12:00 noon, he eats a leisurely lunch with his wife, reminds her to gather tax records for accountant, returns to his office and works until 3:30 p.m., feeling very relaxed because he’s well ahead of deadline. From 3:30-4:00, he speaks to his agent and arranges for the car and driver to pick him up at the airport. At 4:00 his wife brings him a glass of wine, after which he calls his agent again. From 4:30-6:00 he works on his book. At 6:00 he eats dinner with his wife and reminds her to pick up his cleaning and pack his bags for his tour. At 10:30 he retires for another night of uninterrupted sleep.

Writer Two works on her latest book from 11:00-12:30 when she feeds her daughter a bowl of chicken soup, decides it's too soon to take another aspirin, phones her agent to learn he is on vacation in Paris. She works on her book until 3:30 p.m., then picks up her son and takes him karate class. At 4:00 she calls to ask if the publisher will buy her a plane ticket to her book signing, learns he went home early with a headache. She takes two more aspirins, picks up her son from karate class, fixes dinner and collects tax records for the accountant. She works on her book from 7:00-8:00 when it is bath time and story time for the children. At 9:00 p.m., she checks her credit card balance to see if she can afford to charge a bus ticket to her book signing. From 10:00 to 12:30 she works on her book, at which time she realizes the character she identified in her synopsis as the murderer couldn't have done it. She'll have to tell her editor she's changing the plot. At 12:45 she takes two aspirin and goes to bed, then suddenly remembers the washer full of wet clothes. She says to hell with it and falls into an exhausted sleep.

Conclusion: Every writer needs a good wife.

Learn more about D.R. Meredith (Doris to her friends) here.

1 comment:

  1. Many years ago there was a list in one of the newsmagazines and I think it was by Mario Puzo listing ten things that a writer's spouse could do to help the writer. They were all things that wives could do for their husbands. Just exactly like Writer number one. Thankfully now most female writers get real help from their husbands. But mostly the women pick up the slack.