A Day in the Life of Frances M. Thompson
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit how excited I am to write this guest post. Most people shy away from their routines and berate going through the “same old, same old” every day, but I happen to find routine quite a comforting thing. I think it has a lot to do with how much I travel (for work and pleasure!); it really makes me appreciate the time I have in my home, which is a two floor apartment in Amsterdam that I share with my Australian boyfriend.
I’m a morning person so I try to get up around 7 o’clock or earlier, though I rarely set an alarm; it’s one of the few self-indulgent rules I introduced when I went freelance two years ago – no alarms!
I leave my partner sleeping – he is definitely not a morning person! – and I go downstairs to do ten minutes of yoga stretching in my pyjamas. I then make a cup of tea and eat my breakfast while reading a few pages of the book I’m currently enjoying. The yoga and reading at breakfast is an attempt to ease me into my working day rather than get flooded by emails and notifications before I’ve even sat at my desk. I don’t think we cherish quiet mornings enough in our busy lives.
It’s time for another cup of tea to get me started attacking my To-Do list which I write out the night before. I try to clear all the admin and emails I need to do, any marketing tasks for my book, maybe write a blog post or two or I will maybe spend an hour or two working on some content for a client.
At around 10 or 11 o’clock I get changed (yep, I’m still in my pyjamas at this point!) and go for a quick run along the canal near our apartment in Amsterdam. After I began work on my first book last year I realised how easy it is to not be physically active every day as a writer so I set myself the challenge of running at least a mile every day. I may not stick to it every single day, but it’s definitely a very easy and attainable goal because it doesn’t take too long. Even though I normally dread doing it, I normally end up feeling a bit like Wonder Woman when I push myself and return home having run a couple of miles. Of course, sadly I still look nothing like her.
After I’ve had a shower and got dressed (finally!) I get stuck into some client work – I’m a freelance copywriter and researcher – until it’s lunchtime. My partner also works from home (as an online software developer) so sometimes we’ll go for a ride on our bikes to find a nice café for lunch or we’ll eat together in the kitchen and talk about how our day is going.
If I’ve got all my client work done, then the afternoon is when I like to do my writing work, be it editing, planning or working on a first draft. I try to write at least 1000 new words or edit 3000 words a day. It’s not a goal I always achieve but it goes a long way to keep me moving in the right direction. Alternatively, if I’ve got work to finish or a client meeting, then I’ll often end up saving all my writing work until after dinner. This isn’t ideal as I can be a little tired by then, but once I’ve started and I get stuck back in the make believe worlds of the weird and wonderful people that live in my head, it can be hard to stop, especially when I’m working on a first draft or a chapter outline.
I’m very lucky in that we live so close to so many great restaurants and bars in Amsterdam, so if work is quiet we can be quite spontaneous when it comes to just dropping tools and treating ourselves to dinner out or a meet up with friends. Before I added author to my many list of job titles (I’m also a blogger and travel writer) I went out a lot more. I now work more hours than I ever have, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it so much. It also means when I do go out or have a night off, I really, really appreciate it much more.
I try to be in bed before 11 o’clock and I always try to read a little before I switch the lights off, but sometimes neither of these things happen if I have a lot of work on. That said, I’ve just signed up to the Goodreads Reading Challenge where I hope to read 52 books in 2014. Wish me luck!
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13