A Day in the Life #1: Workday

Monday 22.2.21

I thought it would be fun to record a day-in-the-life for anyone who’s as nosy about people’s routines as I am! I’m a creature of habit, which is useful for self-employment and working from home, although I’m happy to switch things around whenever necessary. I try to work intensively and then switch off completely; drifting between the two makes me tired and anxious. Every day is different and is mainly determined by my energy levels/health – this one’s slightly better than average, as Mondays often are, and writing this post kept me accountable. I wasn’t quite as productive during the rest of the week.

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8:00 Normal morning routine: Bathroom, medication/water, coffee, Italian on Duolingo, breathing exercise on Headspace, Bible reading, and other reading (Fast Focus by Damon Zahariades).

8:40 Dressed, fifty deadlifts with my 16kg kettlebell (daily minimum to get me moving), brushed teeth, washed face, and skincare.

9:00 Admin (AKA getting organised and trying to remember what on earth I’m meant to be doing today!). Answered a few texts. Messaged my friend, which I do every Monday to remind her to be sociable, and vice versa…Covid hasn’t helped, but hey, we’re doing our best.

9:30 Got on video chat with my wonderful writer/editor friend, which we now do most weekdays – will write a blog post about this soon. After a few minutes of lively writerly discussion, we both got to work in our ‘virtual office’. I spent nearly two hours working on a third edit of someone’s short story collection, with occasional pauses to stretch my legs or drink water.

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Replenishing My Writing Stocks

Submitting to publications and competitions takes a surprising amount of time. The vast majority result in rejection, which is to be expected, but I feel that my recent rejections are because my stories simply aren’t good enough. (This isn’t false modesty or a cry for encouragement. It’s the truth.)

My best stories, with only a couple of exceptions, have already been published/shortlisted. Many of these were developed slowly over a long period; several were Creative Writing MA assignments, which benefitted from hundreds of drafts and constructive feedback from peers and tutors. I haven’t been putting that amount of time into my stories recently and I’d like to do so again.

It’s exhilarating and encouraging to be published, as well as gratifying to have positive (or at least constructive) feedback, but it can also be a distraction from the actual writing. I’m putting submissions on the back burner while I replenish my story stocks, read widely and deeply, and improve my technique. I don’t know how long I’ll do this for; I expect I’ll know when the time’s right.

I might make a final flurry of submissions first though… I can quit, promise.

Feelings of Worthlessness

I wrote this last year but couldn’t persuade myself to put it on my blog – too emotionally raw. I’ve had a few seizures and migraines again recently, which reminded me of this post and how hard it is to be kind to yourself when poor health undermines you. I couldn’t come up with a ‘conclusion’ and decided to leave it as it was; it reflects how I felt at the time.

14.9.20 Monday

I had tears in my eyes and not because I was washing dishes. I soon got on video chat with my man, propping my phone against a flowerpot on the window ledge. I described the drained feeling I’d had all day.

‘It’s just…’ I gripped the bowl with my yellow-gloved hands, paused for a moment, and tried to find the right words. ‘I think I’m suffering from Hannah Fatigue.’

Loose translation: sick of myself. Detailed translation: I was struggling with the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ days*. Bluntest translation: The number of ‘bad’ days made me feel increasingly worthless.

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