A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

A day in the life of a sleep-deprived writer…

6.21 – Open eyes, grab iPad from bedside cabinet and check Twitter to see who else is crazy enough to be up this early.
6.45 – Having wasted 20 minutes discovering that very few people who are unlucky enough to be up this early actually bother with Twitter, I succumb to the giant poodle’s wee-wee dance and stumble downstairs to let him out.
7.15 – After the usual ablutions I’m at my desk and raring to go. Words they are a-fizzing from my fingertips and the story that has been shaped and moulded by my dreams is appearing on the computer screen as if by some unholy osmosis. The Muses be praised!
7.16 – Hmmmm… hungry now. Hard to write with low blood sugar. Super healthy oats and fruit juice (the choice of champions) or…. TEA AND TOAST (pick me, pick me!)????
7.35 – Is one cup of tea ever enough?
8.00 – Is it really 8 already? Bugger! What’s the point of getting up early if the morning’s just going to disappear?!
8.05 – OK, this is it. Really going to write some serious words now. 1000 words in the next hour. You’ve done it before, you can do it again!
8.25 – It’s working, it’s working… words are appearing… in sentences!
8.26 – First work phone call of the day. ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!
8. 32 – Don’t panic! I still have half an hour. I can get stuff done in half an hour. Yes, I can. Maybe.
8.50 – Second work phone call of the day. WHY DO PEOPLE THINK IT’S OK TO CALL BEFORE NINE?!
9.00 – Give up trying to write as it’s time to work.


12.00 – Lunch and quick phone convo with fellow writer who may or may not be ready to throw manuscript, and computer with it, through the nearest window.
1.00 – Back to work.
2.00 – Hurrah! Break between meetings. I feel a sneaky bit of writing coming on. Where was I again? Ah yes, the bit where the main character was about to make a life-changing decision. But is it the right one? I mean, if I do this now and it’s the wrong move I’ll just end up re-writing over and over and over again. Argh! Coffee. I need coffee. Oh, what’s that? An email. Super Agent Jenny wants a synopsis for that new thing we were talking about the other day…
2.11 – Short interlude of hyperventilating. Could I not send a photo of my whiteboard instead? Opens Tweetdeck to seek solace from other writers likewise afflicted.
2.23 – I could have been a dentist, y’know.
2.35 – Or a sheepshearer.
2.47 – Everyone on Twitter agrees that writing a synopsis is the absolute worst thing anyone ever has to go through ever. Feel much better.
3.30 – Having worked on Synopsis of Death for what felt like FOREVER (while having in-depth conversation about the state of the publishing industry via direct message with writer pal…) Hi ho, hi ho… it’s back to work I go.
5.30 – Time to cook dinner. Well, when I say cook, I mean, stab a pre-prepared meal with a fork (most satisfying), shove it in the microwave and wait for the ding.
6.30 – Oh joy, another meeting?
9.02 – Back home. Check the day’s word count. It has not increased from the 56 words I left it at. Damn, where are the word elves when you need them?!
9.05 – Removes all sharp objects from the vicinity. Except for the…
9.07 – Corkscrew slides gracefully through the cork. Just one glass of wine will in no way affect my ability to write this next scene.
9.36 – *Snore*
9.53 – Oh Flipping Nora! I knew I’d forgotten something… I have that blog to write!

10.15 – Gahhh! Where have all my spaces gone?! I hate WordPress!
10.38 – Drag sorry self to bed.

I wish I could say that this is in any way an exaggeration, but it isn’t. This has pretty much been my writing life for the last 6 years, 6 days a week. So if you’re sitting at home thinking that you could finish that book if only you had more time, I have one thing to say to you…


Eventually it all adds up.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself as the deadline for book two approaches!

So how about you? What’s your writing life like?


Sharon Jones
Young-adult novels: DEAD JEALOUS (Orchard Books, July 2013) DEAD SILENT (Orchard Books, 2014)

11 comments on “A day in the life of a sleep-deprived writer…

  1. Liz
    April 8, 2013

    Oh my days – this is FAR too familiar to me. Great blogpost, Sharon!

  2. Sarah Wells (@mrsswells)
    April 8, 2013

    Brilliant! Am thinking of getting “use the time you have” tattooed up my arm…

  3. Sue Hyams
    April 8, 2013

    Ha ha ha. I love this! So perfect and so true! But why don’t I have a whiteboard?What an excellent idea.

  4. sharonjoneswrites
    April 8, 2013

    Whiteboards are the only way to go! I highly recommend them!

  5. sharonjoneswrites
    April 8, 2013

    Now there’s commitment!

  6. sharonjoneswrites
    April 8, 2013

    You can tell us by the crazed look in our eyes…

  7. Emma Pass
    April 8, 2013

    Brilliant post, Sharon! But hang on… there’s no word elves? Nooooooooooo!

  8. sharonjoneswrites
    April 8, 2013

    No. No word elves. Unless you’re hoarding them all for yourself…? Come on, own up!

  9. Emma Pass
    April 8, 2013

    Precious elves. Preciousssss… *herds elves into wardrobe*

  10. This had me proper chortling! I love the ‘helpful’ corkscrew…

  11. Pingback: Day 10 of 30: Ode to coffee | thelissachronicles

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