A Day in the Life: An American Writer in China

This post is an attempt to answer the question “but what do you do all day?” And honestly, it’s a good question. As a (so far) unpublished author, I have no real deadlines to meet, and no real requirements of what I have to be doing. But I have my own personal goals and deadlines that I set for myself, and I do a pretty good job at meeting them, while still being patient and understanding with myself as I adjust to life in a totally new and crazily foreign country.

Of course, none of my days really look the same, but I do have things I like to do every day and things I try to do every day. So I kept track for one day of everything I did. For this experiment, I tried to choose a day that was fairly typical (as in, I was going to track my day last Monday, but then the electricity went out for two days and I thought that wouldn’t really be a fair representation of my life. Then again, the gas went out last night just as I tried to saute some vegetables, so maybe it would have been pretty accurate after all).

So here you have it, a peek at a typical day for me, an American writer living in China:

8 am – I got up, read some scriptures, wrote in my gratitude journal, and put in some contacts.

8:20 – Turned on my computer (it needs a good head start on booting up), put some bread slices in the toaster oven, put in a load of laundry, and buttered my toast.

8:30 – I sat down to breakfast while checking my email and facebook, and reading some blogs.

9:15 – I read some more inspirational material for personal development and growth.

9:35 – Hung up the wet laundry, took down the laundry that had been hanging and folded it, and tossed in another load.

9:50 – Wrote a blog post.

10:15 – Went for a run in the park.

11:05 – Showered and got ready (finally).

11:30 – Hung up the wet laundry.

11:50 – Took a break reading emails and playing on facebook again.

12:05 – Did some writing for nanowrimo, hit my goal of 2000 words for the day.

2:30 – Made lunch and did the dishes.

3:00 – Sat down to eat lunch.

3:15 – Worked on query stuff (basically a cover letter to agents asking them to represent my book) – this includes researching agents, polishing a query letter, getting together the specific package of material each agent is asking for, etc.

6:20 – Looked up some stuff to get ready for the party I was throwing the next night and got organized for that. Tried to start dinner until –

6:50 – Terry called to say some friends had invited us to dinner. So I stopped making dinner (luckily I’d only just started the rice), turned on some Gilmore Girls to watch while he came home, added a book to my kindle and cleaned up the apartment till he got home.

7:10 – Terry got home and we chatted for a bit

7:45 – We left to meet our friends for dinner. Had some yummy Korean BBQ.

10:00 – Ran to the store to pick up a few things we needed.

10:30 – Went home and chatted for a bit more, then went to bed.

That’s roughly 7 hours of things I qualify as actual ‘work’, 2 hours of running my household, 2 hours of personal development stuff, a little under an hour of making food (which is way less than usual), and about 3 hours of play time or hanging out with Terry. Not a bad day.

Although writing it all out makes me feel like you’re missing some things that almost always happen every day – like I usually have to sweep and mop all. the. freaking. time. and I usually have to walk a couple miles to get more groceries, and I can’t believe I didn’t actually sit down to read at all that day. I read every single day, I swear. I was between books that day so it was one of those terrible, awkward times. It’s over now, luckily. I’ll have to try this again sometime, give you a few more samples of what my days are like here so you can get a good picture of it.

Tell me, what do you do all day?

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  1. I wasn’t sure if you were really asking, but my day is mostly spent with kids and cleaning. And more kids. And then an iPad break playing games. 🙂 I am excited for when you get published. 🙂

  2. I actually started laughing when you asked what we do all day because I’ve been potty training and it is pure comedy around our house these days. My days consist of me begging lil’ B to let me know when he needs to go potty so I can stop cleaning up after him or trying to figure out ways to keep him on the potty so he will at least be in the right spot when he does finally go. The other day he finally agreed to sit on the potty I had placed in the kitchen after I bribed him with a “pee pee” cookie. He was sitting there with his cookie, watching Mickey Mouse, reading the Toys r’ us toy catalog we got in the mail and saying “cool, mom” to every nerf gun he came across. I had even turned on the kitchen faucet in hopes it would help the cause. Pure comedy. Loved hearing about your day!

  3. I have thought of doing this many times! Being a mom is one of those self employed/self motivated “jobs” that you feel like you are spinning your wheels. I have many days where I feel like I haven’t sat down all day, and I am exhausted, but to someone just peeking in at the end of the day it may look like nothing has been accomplished. Very frustrating! 🙂

  4. I read your interesting, funny, informative blog, sweet friend. Thank you for keeping us posted on your life in China. Hugs to you & Terry!

  5. When I was a little boy my mother would lean out the window and yell. “Jimmy.. What are you doing?” I was always thinking about and doing so many things that I didn’t know how to answer.. so I would yell back from the yard. “Nothing!” I remember her reply.. “You are the busiest boy doing nothing I have ever known!” If you were to ask me what I did today my answer would probably still be “nothing”………. but I know tonight I will not want to go to bed because there will be so many things I wanted to do today.. but didn’t have the time……


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