This Writing Life is a new series where we explore an actual day in the life of our playwrights.
7:30am - Alarm goes off. Time to get the day started! It can be hard to get out of bed some days when you’re your own boss, but it’s totally worth it. The morning hours are some of the best times to write. The sun’s coming up, the air is crisp. It's a good way to be productive and motivated!
7:35am - Yeah but jeez this is early. And do I really want to be this tired for the rest of the day? I’ll sleep for 20 more minutes, what’s the difference between 7:30 and 7:50 anyway? Nothing.
9:45am - That’s embarrassing. Everyone I know my age is up and going to their jobs and I’m sleeping in like a teenager. Well, I better get up and get some writing done. Like now!
10am - Coffee made, “dessert masking as breakfast” plated, ready to tackle the day! I check my whiteboard for today’s agenda. My trusty whiteboard has a list of everything I need to accomplish this week, things like “Write 20 pages of new play” and “submit to prestigious writing contest that will change my life.” I also have things that are ways easier to do in case those goals don’t actually get done, like: “Take out trash” or “Go on 15 minute walk” or “get hair cut.” (Haircuts actually give me a fair amount of anxiety! What if it looks stupid and I have a stupid haircut for the rest of the month. Or what if the hair dresser wants to talk. Next to dentists, hair dresser conversation is so awkward!) You know what, I’m going to switch “get a haircut” to next week. I can go another week.
10-11am - I open Final Draft. I pull up the latest draft of a play I’m working on. And… Oh sweet! New Star Wars Trailer! MUST WATCH NOW! THEN MUST WATCH AGAIN SEVERAL TIMES!
11-11:30am - Where is Luke? Where is he?!?! He hasn’t been in any of the promotional material. According to the internet, he’s either “hiding out a la Ben Kenobi” or “he’s a Sith lord.” I will investigate this further.
11:30-11:35am - All right, I’ll watch the trailer one more time, then I’m gonna get back to work.
11:35am-12pm - Writing. I’m finally writing and you know what, it’s going well! So well that I think I deserve a little break. I need to start running again (it’s been weeks). I ran four blocks yesterday when I was running late to a brunch and it was…embarrassing.
12-12:30pm - But you know what? Before I run I should really go to the grocery store. I need some things for dinner. I think about dinner all day... Oh man... what should I have tonight? I have cabbage, chicken... maybe I'll do a rice thing, but I'll need more mushrooms if I'm going to do that. Okay, so I'll go to the store, get mushrooms, then I'll get on the treadmill.
12:20pm - Back earlier than I thought but now I’m getting hungry. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about exercising, doing it on an empty stomach is a bad idea. I’ll wait until this afternoon. Maybe three-ish.
12:30-1:30pm - Lunch. A boring salad while I listen to a podcast. I have every intention of listening to a This American Life about working a minimum wage job at a car dealership, but instead listen to podcasts about Sports and Star Wars. I learn nothing.
1:35-1:45pm - Before I get started, I think about dinner. When can I take a break to start making dinner? 5:30? Six. Let’s say six. But that means I have four uninterrupted hours of writing. Hm… well I’ll work out from 3-4. Which leaves two hours. Which is a lot. Let’s say 5:30 I’ll stop to cook.
1:45-2:00pm - Now I’m reading about this “white nationalist group” that’s boycotting Star Wars because Finn is black. Ridiculous. I let my feelings be known on Twitter, a form of social media I barely understand but am told I should utilize more.
2:00pm - My tweet gets no favorites.
2:05-3:00pm - Writing! I actually wrote! Two pages! That brings my total up to 3. I’m not sure it makes sense but if I can get to five that feels like a day's work. Well now that I’m ⅗ of the way there I’ll take a break. Besides, I have other things on my list to do like walk outside for 10 minutes. My doctor says I'm dangerously low on Vitamin D so I'm trying to get out more.
3-3:30pm - Well that took longer than I thought, but I need to work my way up to running. I can’t just… start running! Remember brunch? Slow and steady my friend. I’ll start running tomorrow.
3:30-3:35pm - Cross off “go outside” on my whiteboard. Also make new goal of “walk for 30 minutes” then cross it off my whiteboard.
3:35-4pm - And I’m tired. I’m trying to work but it’s really hard. My head’s drooping. I try to fight it but there’s only one thing to do when I feel like this…
4-4:30pm - TAKE A NAP!!! Now I know what you’re thinking. “You’re a grown man, you can’t take a nap in the middle of the day!” I used to think this too and get really mad at myself but then I heard a podcast where Steve Nash admitted to taking naps everyday. And Steve Nash was a two-time MVP who had one of the longest and most productive careers in NBA history. Steve did it, then everyone on the Suns did it, and then it spread across all sports. Tom Brady, LeBron James, Aaron Rodger. All champions who take naps. Just like me. Other famous nap takers: Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Bill Clinton, Salvador Dali. You know who didn’t take naps… those racist white people who don’t like Finn.
4:30-4:45pm - Allow yourself some groggy time to get up from this nap. Too much too soon and you’ll likely run into something. Don’t worry, the nap cobwebs will shuffle away and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go in just a few minutes! In the meantime, read a blog.
4:45-5:30pm - WRITING! I actually wrote but I’m stuck at 4.5 pages. Really want to get to 5 pages. It just sounds better to say “I wrote five pages” then “I wrote 4 and a half pages today.” But I’m stuck. I’m really stuck. But hey, it’s almost time to start dinner. Maybe… I’ll prep early. Chop stuff for 30 minutes. Come back, write the last half a page. Then cook and eat.
5:30-8pm - So 20 minutes of chopping turned into an hour of dinner prep, followed by 30 minutes of eating, followed by a post dinner episode of John Oliver. Great way to spend 2.5 hours. Although no writing gets done.
8-9:45pm - Okay, this is it. If you can write half a page of this play your reward will be getting to watch a movie. Maybe Focus on HBO. That seems like maybe it could be fun in a “I’ll just watching something random and lite” kind of way. Will Smith. Margot Robbie. Con hijinks. No Jayden Smith. All right. Sounds good. Now all you have to do is write half a page of dialogue. Just do it. Then you can watch your movie.
9:45-10pm - GOOD LORD YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING! WRITE! DO IT NOW IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE GREAT JUST DO IT!
10-10:15pm - Okay I did it. I actually wrote three pages just now. Is it good? Hard to say, I was in a panic-induced haze when I wrote it. There are a lot of exclamation marks which isn’t a good sign but I got to my goal of 5 pages (plus 2 more). I’ll read it tomorrow to see if it makes any sense. And in my experience this can go either way. I’ll read it and go “hey, not bad” or I’ll go “hey, this isn’t even written in English. Delete.” Anyway, on to Focus. Well the Star Wars trailer one more time then Focus.
10:15pm-12:15am - Focus was not worth watching.
12:15-1am - And now it’s off to bed with a good book (or random blogs and Facebook) until I pass out and start all over again. Maybe tomorrow I’ll push myself and write 10 pages. That’s a lot so maybe I’ll even get up early and get a jump on the day. What could stop me!?
Ian McWethy’s (15 Minutes of YouTube Fame, Every Novel You Read in High School (in 25 Minutes or Less)) plays include Moral Values..., Actors are Stupid, Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, and 12 Incompetent Men (And Women!). Fifteen of his one-act plays have been published and have been performed in all fifty states as well as Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, England, Cambodia, Philippines, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Pakistan, the Marshall Islands, Qatar, Portugal, Brazil, Italy and Saudia Arabia. He's also written several screenplays, sitcom pilots, short films, and a webseries. He's happily married to Carrie McCrossen and splits his time between California and New York. Mr. McWethy is represented by Kersey Management and Bricken Entertainment.