Ever wonder what a normal day is like for an author? I know I do. Usually my imagination conjures up one of two scenarios: They hole up in a cozy office drinking coffee and writing maniacally without stopping for human interaction or sustenance…or they spend half the day writing extremely productively, then get to hang out by the pool or snuggle with a dog the rest of the day.
Romance writer Lauren Smith, author of The League of Rogues, The Surrender and Her British Stepbrother series, volunteered to give TDQ a peek at the reality of being an author. But Lauren’s not just any author – she splits her time between writing and working part time as an attorney! Keep reading to get a peek at what a normal day looks like for Lauren as she balances her careers.
I used to be a part time writer, full-time attorney. Let me just say…I don’t know how I survived four years of that. Intense is the best way to describe it. I used to write my novels in the most random and occasionally awkward of places. Think of me perched over a desk in a lounge of a courthouse bathroom basement, or instead, acrobatically using one arm to guard my notebook as I scribbled away in the middle of a long docket waiting for the judge to call my case. Lauren Smith, undercover author and attorney extraordinaire.
Well, those days behind me. I’m now a full time writer, part-time attorney. It’s a bit of a switch-up but, technically speaking (or maybe just in my heart), I have been a full-time writer all this time. When you love something and you think about it about 97% of the day – what’s more full time than that? Now I just have more hours to actively work on what I love. So what does a day in the life of romance writer look like? Follow me…
5am: I’m up and wide awake, downing my first Diet Dr. Pepper and walking the dogs. I am a total animal person. My pet crew includes a chinchilla (Churro), a betta fish (Neptune), a long-haired prissy cat (Tiki) and two dogs: a black schnauzer named (Fritz) and a wheaten terrier (Evangeline, or Evie for short).
6am: Laundry. You know those shirts don’t fold themselves….nor do those pesky socks pair up on their own. For every author, there is a special get-up they prefer to wear on a day-to-day basis while working. Much to my fashionista mother’s dismay, my writing uniform is jeans, a comfy tee and my lucky white Converse sneakers. It’s all about the comfort. If you’re thinking about what you wear, you forget to write. No Dior gowns for this girl.
7am: Hit the gym for a long run and meditate on the future of the characters in my current work in progress. Once I start running, my mind goes into a trance; you forget how much you don’t want to be, and lose yourself in the story as it unfolds in your head. Let’s face it, I love to play God. Today I’m picturing six Regency era rogues grouped in the woods just outside a Scottish castle, discussing how one goes about laying siege to a castle in order to rescue a damsel (who doesn’t in fact need rescuing). You can expect some giggles from me while I run and plan this out.
8am: Shower and eye my pajama pants wistfully. I should put on “real clothes” before ten in the morning.
10am to Noon: Work on day job assignments. It’s fun to dive into my legal work for part of the day. It helps me balance my creative side by using my logical side for a few hours. But after that work is over, I’m rip-roaring and ready to go back to the characters.
Lunch: But first, lunch and some fresh air – which means another dog walk.
1pm to 4pm: This is it. Magic time. I peer deep into my well of inspiration and drag my muse out from the bottom by her hair and force her to work with me. Picture me with a stack of verb books, Scottish Country Houses, Character Trait books, and music! Music is pivotal. I’ve got my noise cancellation headphones and my playlist loaded with Florence + The Machine, Hans Zimmer and Sia. I need just the right songs to help me imagine how those six rogues will go about seizing a castle to rescue one of their lady loves. Sometimes I have a rough day where the words don’t want to come and it feels like the characters are just standing there waiting for me to push them in a genius direction. On days like those, I have to take a step back, go on an extra walk with the dogs, listen to more music and allow the pieces to fall together themselves. As Terry Brooks, a fav author of mine, says: “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
4pm to 5pm: Share steamy scenes with a friend and giggle over her reactions. Then dive into my research materials to make some notes on less steamy but historically interesting topics like where men would go boxing during the regency, what sort of coach a bachelor would drive when escorting a lady to the park and what roads a rogue might use to whisk a lady away to Scotland to marry her without her family’s consent.
5pm: Stare at the stove in my house and wish it could magically make something delicious for dinner. I’m a passable cook, but I really hate it. I usually end up calling my mom and asking her what I can whip up in half an hour with minimal effort. Tonight it’s a homemade meatloaf recipe from the Molly section of my American Girl cookbook. Yes, I’ve had this cookbook for twenty years, and every recipe is fabulous.
6pm to 9pm: Turn on some TV. It feels so good to indulge in someone else’s fantasy world. But my laptop is still out so I can work on some much needed edits or check in with my friends and my readers on social media.
9pm to 10pm: I’m settling down in my bed and perusing my ever growing to-be-read pile which includes the latest Karen Robard’s book, The Meaning of Night, and The Mummy by Anne Rice.
10pm: Time for some shut-eye. The best nights end with dreams about scenes that will unfold tomorrow in my notebook. Tonight I’m imagining a super sexy blond-haired baron and how he’ll win over a fiery Scottish business woman. Man, I love being a writer!
Lauren Smith is a romance author, living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her series include The League of Rogues from Samhain Publishing, and The Surrender and Her British Stepbrother series from Grand Central Publishing. She has also written for Heroes & Heartbreakers and Bustle. For more (including cute animal photos), follow Lauren on Twitter @LSmithAuthor or laurensmithbooks.com.