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.
A 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.
On 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.