Welcome to my new blog series! If you are an aspiring writer, published author, or simply someone who loves seeing into others’ lives, this series is for you.
Every second Monday, I will bring you a day in the life of a writer. They will share with you a snapshot of one of their days and the myriad things they get up to – writerly and otherwise. It’s going to be fun!
I’m super excited to begin this series with the wonderfully talented Pamela Hart.
Pamela, who also writes under the name Pamela Freeman, is a prolific Australian author having written over thirty books in a variety of genres including childrens, fantasy, and historical fiction. She has a Doctor of Creative Arts in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney, and also teaches at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Pamela’s most recent books are the hugely successful historical fiction novels, The Soldier’s Wife, The War Bride, and A Letter from Italy.
A day in the life of Pamela Hart
The start to my day depends on what day it is. My son has early music rehearsals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so on those days I get up at 6.30am. On Monday and Friday, I get up at 7.30.
Saturday and Sunday I sleep in.
Wednesday is a good sample day, I think, as it takes in most of the things that I do.
6.30 rise. Make breakfast (bacon, or porridge), make lunches for son and husband (yes, so domestic!). Eat breakfast while checking Facebook and Twitter. (Note: I started both of these at the request of publishers, but I enjoy them too, and I have a fabulous community of writers and aspiring writers as social media friends. You should join us.)
I try to get a walk in at this point, but it’s been spotty since I sprained my ankle. I can’t walk two days in a row; I have to give my ankle a rest in between, so some days I walk and some I don’t.
If I don’t walk, I read a bit – on my phone for preference. I am an ebook person. So much so that I have been known to buy the ebook version of a book I have been given, because I actively resent having to carry a book around with me. Story is everything!
8.30 Check emails, reply to emails, etc. Check calendar for any events to go to or promises made (eg this blog post). Sometimes I watch TV while I eat (usually something recorded on Foxtel or from Netflix, like Orphan Black.) Mostly I check on the news online and fume at what some stupid politician has done.
10ish Teatime (never coffee), then get started on whatever work I’m doing. This can range from commenting on online courses that I’m teaching, to researching for the current novel, to checking proofs, doing structural or copy edits, or, for about half the year, actually writing the first draft.
When I’m writing, I try to do 2000 words a day (so, 10K a week). I don’t always make it. Sickness, family matters or other commitments (such as school workshops or conferences) can intervene. But if I don’t do them during the week, I try to make it up on the weekend.
There is almost always some kind of research going on – as a writer of historical novels, such as A Letter from Italy (which is set in 1917), I follow up a lot of articles or books which deal with my era (and maybe a few which don’t, because I’m a history junkie.)
There may also be conversations with publishers, emails asking for my attendance at publicity events, discussions with other writers about their work in progress, and a moment or two where I ask myself, while wringing my hands: ‘Is this book just terrible? Should I stop now and put myself out of my misery?’ Because writing is not always fun.
12 noon or 1pm or 2 pm or whenever 2000 words is done…. Out and about. Usually grocery shopping, going to the butcher, etc. I like to have a break in the middle of the day. Our local café (only 5 doors down) is a great place to have a break, and they look after us very well there.
Lunch happens somewhere around now.
3.30-4.00 My son comes home and there is the feeding time, the chatting time, the ‘what have you got for homework time?’. Afternoon tea may well happen.
This is when I either slack off or do domestic duties like folding the washing.
5.30. On most Wednesdays, I teach at the Australian Writers’ Centre at Milson’s Point (I also teach online classes for them), so this is when I head off to teach my class.
6.30-8.30 Teaching – anything from an introductory class to an advanced novel-writing course which lasts for 6 months.
9.00 Home for a late dinner, chat with wonderful husband, check in with son, a few computer games (I like logic games the best) and then a bath and, eventually, bed at somewhere between 10.30-11.30.
While this is a ‘typical’ day, those days don’t happen all that often. One of the things I LOVE about my life is that no two days are alike. I’m really not very good with routine. I haven’t had a proper, 9-5, 5 days a week job since 1989; I used to work as a consultant before I became a ‘full-time’ writer. What I will say is that writing is a fabulous job for a parent, because you’re always there.
Pamela’s favourite thing about being a writer?
I love getting emails from readers, or comments on my Pamela Hart Facebook page, saying that the reader liked (or, indeed, loved) a book. But I think my favourite part about writing is the playing. When you first get an idea for a story, there’s a period when all you do is play with it. Trying ideas out, storylines out, developing your characters, changing them and thus the story, really just riffing off the initial idea. That’s the most fun in the world.
You can follow Pamela on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. And you can check out her website at www.pamela-hart.com where you can see her latest book ‘A letter from Italy’ or sign up to her newsletter to receive a free short story!
Thanks to Pamela for kicking off the series, and don’t forget to pop back in two weeks’ time for my next guest: Natasha Lester.