A Day in the Life of Medical Mystery Thriller Author Christopher Stookey

A Day in the Life is Literarily Speaking’s newest feature. Here we get a glimpse into our favorite author’s day-to-day life! Today’s guest is Christopher Stookey, author of the medical mystery thriller, Terminal Care.


Christopher StookeyA Day in the Life of Christopher Stookey

by Christopher Stookey

My typical writing day starts at 8:00 AM.  I’ve taken our three dogs for a walk, brewed a pot of coffee, and eaten my bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries.

Then, taking a mug of steaming coffee downstairs to my office, I settle in at my laptop.  The dogs take their customary places under the desk.  I like a quiet environment.  I don’t put on any background music.  My wife works out of town, and we have no kids—so I have a quiet house all to myself.

I usually write for two to four hours.  I don’t have a set number of pages I must complete before I quit.  I simply write until I’m either tired of writing or satisfied with the morning’s output.  Sometimes this means I’ll stop when I’ve finished a section or a run of dialogue; sometimes I’ll stop when I’ve gotten a good start on a new chapter; sometimes I’ll stop because the literary juices just aren’t flowing on a particular day.

Terminal CareOn an average morning, I’ll produce two to four pages (double-spaced).  On really good days, I’ll crank out five or six pages.  On bad days, I’m lucky to get a paragraph.  Some days writing comes easy; some days it comes hard.  I find I seem to do my best writing on the days when the words flow the most effortlessly.  On the other hand, on those days when it takes two hours to write a paragraph, my writing quality is almost always poor.  More often than not, when I re-read that two-hour paragraph the next day, it’s so bad I just throw it out and start over.  This is why I’ve stopped forcing myself to write on days when the muse seems to be on vacation.

I do a lot of revising and re-writing.  Often, I’ll do some revising at the beginning of my day as well as at the end.  Not infrequently, I’ll devote an entire day to re-writing. Unlike a lot of writers, I enjoy revising.  It’s after the second or third revision that I start to see some satisfactorily polished prose emerge from my computer screen.  It’s like a sculptor who chips away at his stone until his subject begins to materialize from the rock.

I write four days a week, Monday through Thursday.  Friday to Sunday, I’m at my day job working twelve-hour shifts in an emergency room.  The shift work fits nicely with my writing career: I get in a thirty-six hour work week in three days, then I’m off the other four.  It’s a nice schedule for a writer.

Once I’ve finished my writing in the morning, I like to get outside and get some sunshine and exercise.  Usually, I go for a run in the greenbelt area near my house (my dogs are old and arthritic, and they stay behind).  The truth is, I continue to “write” during these runs.  As a matter of fact, I think I get many of my best ideas in the greenbelt.  I run for about an hour, and, during that hour, I mull over what I wrote that morning and where the writing is headed.  I find runs are a great time to develop new plot angles and to flesh out characters.  Sometimes I’ll jot down my exercise-induced ideas when I get back from a run.  Sometimes I’ll even sit down sweaty at my computer and crank out another page or two—some of my best work is done this way.

I usually devote my afternoons to activities other than writing, mainly reading and house chores.  I suppose a more ambitious writer would put in another writing session in the afternoon.  However, I find my morning at the lap top pretty much drains my writing energy for the rest of the day.  I need the afternoon and a good night’s rest to recharge my literary batteries.

To find out more about Chris, visit his Amazon’s author page at http://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Stookey/e/B003UVLDI4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0.

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