My Daily Routine: Veronica Roth
Superstar author of Carve the Mark & The Divergent Trilogy gives us an inside look at her writing life
I’m not really one for routines, mostly because not every day carries the same amount of writing inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, I advocate for writing even when you don’t really want to, but I also know that I’ll get more done if I let myself be flexible.
If I do have routines, though, they all revolve around this furry little monster:
Now, I’m not a morning person. I never have been. Just so we’re clear. But the reason I drag myself out of bed every day is to let the dog out.
8:30ish: The usual exchange in my house is
Husband: Good morning
Me: What’s so good about it?
(This is mostly a joke.)
Then I let the dog out. I make the exact same cup of tea every single day: loose leaf chai, 200 degrees Fahrenheit, splash of milk, spoonful of honey. I heat up the milk so it doesn’t cool down the tea. Then I get my cereal and sit in front of this bad boy.
This is a light therapy lamp. Most people use them for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I use them to regulate my body’s production of melatonin. (Basically, I use it to keep myself from getting too sleepy in the middle of the day and not sleepy enough at night.)
I eat breakfast, read, drink tea, and absorb white light until…
10:00 am—Exercise time. Again: not a routine person. I run, swim, box, spin, jump rope, salute the sun, whatever feels right.
11:00 am—The monster is restless.
So I take her for a walk around the neighborhood. I come back and shower, then eat a second breakfast, usually yogurt.
11:00 am—Emails. I get a lot of emails. I answer as many as I can, then poke my head into some of the places that readers get in touch with me on social media: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or my public email address. I try to respond to some messages there, too.
12:30 pm—Writing time. I don’t set word count goals. They work for some people, but for me, they make me tread water, so to speak, with my writing. I end up with bloated scenes that have too much filler. Instead, I’ve divided my outline up into scene numbers. Here’s a peek:
I try to tackle at least one scene a day. Sometimes they’re long, over twenty pages. Sometimes they’re as short as three or four. Sometimes this takes me an hour, and sometimes it takes me five. I take breaks after thirty minutes to stretch, go to the bathroom, drink water, or have a snack.
3:00 pm—Lunch? Does frantic scrambling in the kitchen for baby carrots and a cheese sandwich really count as lunch?
5:00 pm—I’m about ready to call it quits…sometimes. When I’m in a really good creative groove, I write for as long as I possibly can, sometimes as late as 3:00 in the morning. My family is very understanding.
5:00 - 10:00 pm—Usually this is what I call “people time.” I hang out with friends, or with my husband, or with my family. I watch movies or TV, or I read.
10:00 pm—Journal time. I make a list of the things I want to get accomplished the next day. Then I read, or catch up on news.
12:00 pm—I go to bed…sort of. I have an anxiety disorder, and it makes sleep really difficult for me. Sometimes I fall asleep at 12:00, but sometimes it takes me a few hours (in which case I get up and do something else for awhile, because you’re not supposed to lay there frustrated for too long).
That’s my usual day. Sometimes, though, if I’m lucky, I get to do that afternoon writing spree with a friend…
Or in a different place entirely, since I travel a lot for work.
But most of the time she stays home.
I love traveling, but my best times are always at home. Can you blame me, when home looks like this?