Friday, February 1, 2013

A Day in the Life


Where did the time go? I wrote my first I.N.K. blog post five years ago this month. That makes this one of the steadiest jobs I've ever had. But what do I do with my time? In an effort to record some semblance of an answer for posterity, I present a chronicle of one recent day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


8:20 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Today is a sleep-in day. I usually get up about 7 a.m. to go to the gym, but on Wednesdays I like to sleep late. I inadvertently sleep extra late when I roll over and doze again.

9:00: Finally get up. Feed the cats. Put on my computer.

9:15: Read e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, I.N.K. (Nice post, Marfe.)

9:40: Go over revised book contract for my biography of Sally Ride. We’ve been working on this for three months (the contract, not the book), and it’s almost there. E-mail my attorney with a few points that still need to be fixed.

9:55: Breakfast (pineapple yogurt and iced tea), shower.

10:30: Surprise! The morning mail has brought a jury duty notice. True to form, they’ve scheduled my jury duty for the week I’ll be in California doing school visits. Fortunately, my county makes it easy to request a postponement. I go to their Web site and fill out the form.

10:45: Skim books on tennis history for information on Alice Marble, the 1930s champion who at one time taught the game to Sally Ride. I’ve had these books for decades and feel a tug of nostalgia as I turn to the index and flip pages, rather than typing words into search engines.

11:30: Head to Staples to do some careful photocopying of archival Roller Derby programs that I borrowed from the proprietor of the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame. No, Sally Ride never skated Roller Derby. This is for a picture book. While I’m out, I decide to give myself a treat and buy a six-inch Subway sandwich for lunch. I resist the urge to measure it to see if it really is six inches long. (If you don’t get that reference, see here.)

12:15 p.m.: Arrive home with my sandwich to find an e-mail with a revised contract. Check it and find that a few changes still need to be made. E-mail my attorney.

12:45: Eat lunch, watch a rerun of Flashpoint to clear my head. Mourn the fact that this fine Canadian import ended its first-run shows last week. Wash dishes. Clean litter box.

2:00: Check e-mail and find that my book contract has been revised to perfection. Hallelujah! Print out four copies and sign them. Then realize I’m not sure whether to mail the package to my editor or the publisher’s attorney. Write e-mails. Get answer. Address it to the attorney.

2:45: Check the AT&T Archives Web site to see if they have posted any of the archival films with bonus intros that I wrote last summer. And they have: War and the Telephone. I watch the wonderful George Kupczak deliver the lines that I wrote about the operators who ran AT&T’s World War II telephone centers at shipyards and military bases. It’s my first filmed script.

3:00: FINALLY start writing. Alice Marble, Sally Ride, tennis. Great stuff.

6:15: Feed the cats. Make dinner (a Mexican concoction with cornbread, cheese, chorizos, salsa, and guacamole). Check in on Brian Williams. Listen to him talk about high winds and heavy rain that are approaching the Northeast. Decide to make extra ice cubes, power up my cell phone, and save my work-in-progress on a flash drive in case the electricity goes out. Wash dishes and clean the litter box.

8:00: Start this blog. Wish I could report that I did more actual writing today, but this is nonfiction and I can't make things up. I did stay up till 12:30 last night working on my manuscript, since I knew I could sleep late. When there's a deadline on the horizon, one day pretty much blends into the next.

9:00: Time for a dose of Law & Order: SVU and Top Chef. Crime. Competition. Food. An excellent end to a writer’s day.

2 comments:

Jim Murphy said...

Sue -- Up before 6 AM is a luxury around here. But your day sounds very much like mine, though I try to get to the writing and research earlier in the AM (so I can leave a decent amount of time for the afternoon nap. Don't laugh; naps are an artform that need a thoughtful book about them. I'd do it but I usually sleep throught the meetings!

Susan Kuklin said...

Like Jim, I write in the AM when ( I think ) I'm fresher. But your "day in the life" feels so familiar - right down to Law and Order reruns. Lately though, my AMs are filled with long phone conversations with Apple, Epson, Canon, and Time Warner, trying to fix the very machines that are supposed to make writing easier. Are others stuck in tech bondage?
Thanks for sharing your day Sue.