6:30 am – Wake up! Make celery juice. I’m always trying to find new ways of staying healthy. Working for yourself, going from contract to contract means there are no sick days. So, I’ve learned that it’s super important to stay healthy.
6:45 am – Plan the day. I try to get myself focused early in the day so that I can get a lot of things done. Again, this is important when you’re basically your own boss.
7:00 am – Lift small weights and do P.T. exercises. I injured my right upper arm and am doing at-home PT exercises to get it stronger again. I’m also doing it so that I can easily lift my first grandchild, who will be born in January 2022.
7:30 am – walk the dog with my husband/writing partner. This is a good time to not only get some exercise but also to talk about story ideas or things that we’re working on together.
8:30 am – This is when I typically start my workday when I’m at home. I look over emails to see if there’s anything that I need to address immediately. If not, I try to get started on my creative work. This is also when I eat my breakfast.
9:00 am – Begin my creative work. Today I’m focused on finishing up the edits on the manuscript for a rom-com novel that my husband and I were hired to write. We’ve been a writing team for almost 30 years. I now have 8 produced movie credits and was paid for at least 20 other projects that never got made.
In 2011 we left LA for tenure-track teaching jobs (at different universities in the Syracuse area). In 2018 we started selling scripts again. Up until 2020, we only wrote screenplays together. And then in summer of 2020, we sold a book proposal and ended up with a 2-book deal for SourceBooks.
We always break the story together and then we split up the work. In the case of this book, we each wrote separate chapters. After we’d finish a chapter, we’d share it with each other and edit each other’s work. Then we’d continue onto the next two chapters. That system worked pretty well, and our editor had no idea who wrote what chapter as she felt that they were seamless. We finished the first manuscript into our editor in February 2021 and in May she gave us the notes. The wait time for notes is always longer than I think it’s going to be. Now I’m doing the final edits so I’m working by myself.
I like to do my creative stuff early in the day as that’s when my brain is most open to creativity. There have been studies done about when it’s best to work creatively and I know that the before lunch hours are great.
10:30 am – Quick break from creative work. I try to get up and stretch for a few moments, so my neck doesn’t get stiff. I also check my emails quickly again. At this time my husband and I decide it’s time to reach out to the movie producer that we’ve worked with on our last four Christmas movies. We have a quick email exchange about possible movies that we might sell for next year. But at this point nothing is locked down. The film business is mercurial, and you never know what will happen next.
10:45 am – Back to the book edits.
11:30 am – Phone Call with colleague at SUNY Oswego where I’m an Associate Professor and teach screenwriting in the Creative Writing Department. My colleague is going to be teaching a screenwriting class for the first time and so she’s asking me for advice. Now that I’m more senior in my career, advice is something that I like giving – especially when people are willing to take it – ha ha.
12:30 pm – Lunch. Then an architect stops by our house. We’re adding a bathroom to our second floor. She’s a quirky lady but that’s typical of most artists. She probably thinks I’m quirky too. After a few minutes of discussion, I leave the architect to her work so that I can continue with mine.
1:00 pm – Continue making edits. I’m up to page 245 now. Woo hoo!
2:00 pm – Run out to grocery store with my husband to pick up fish for dinner. We’ve found that driving has always been a great way for us to talk about ideas. We typically carry a pad with us or just record new ideas on our cell phone. We discuss ideas for our second book which we’ll start breaking out in another week. We also talk about another script idea. When you’re a professional writer, it’s good to have multiple ideas in the hopper.
One of the joys of working for yourself is that you have the freedom to do what you want. But it also means you have to manage the distractions. I keep this in mind as we return home with some great locally caught Sole from Montauk.
3:00 pm – Back to work. I’m determined to make the final edits and finish the book. I need to put this project to bed today so that I can move onto the next thing I have to do which is get ready for the fall semester which is a mere 5 days away!
4:00 pm – Quickly touch base with manager via email. Following up with him regarding a new script of ours that he’s sent out. No news yet. Having someone represent you is paramount if you’re going to be a screenwriter. It’s also very helpful in selling novels. Everyone always says the hardest part is getting the agent or the manager. But keeping the agent or manager is also important.
6:15 pm – I finish making the edits. Woo hoo! My husband and I are thrilled that I’m finished. Tomorrow I’ll update my syllabi for the Fall Semester and maybe also put some ideas on paper for the second book which will be a sequel to the first book. We’re contracted to finish the first draft of the second book by end of January 2022. But I’m not thinking about that now as I email off the revised manuscript to our editor.
In writing to the editor, I always include the following line: “please let me know that you received this email.” That’s helpful because then I don’t need to worry if she got it. I know that she’ll read the document later – maybe even in a few weeks – but that’s okay.
6:30 pm – Time to have a beer and cook up that Sole!
After dinner I’ll watch a t.v. show and then read a novel. I just finished The Plot, which was written by alumna Jean Hanff Korelitz ’83. It’s a fantastic read and I highly recommend it! I always believe it’s important to read at least a little bit every day. If nothing is going in, nothing good comes out.
10:30 pm – Lights out! Thanks for sharing my day with me.