Welcome to another year of A Day in the Life of a Writer. It’s hard to believe that this is the third year I’ve been running this series, man how time flies. I’ve hosted so many talented authors and this season is lining up to be the best yet! (More on that later!)
First cab off the rank for 2019 is Cassie Hamer.
Cassie and I have moved in the same circles online for a few years now, and I first met her IRL when we both attended a workshop with Jenn J McLeod. With her passion for storytelling, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d see her book on the shelves. And I wasn’t wrong! Cassie has just released her debut novel ‘After The Party’, which I know is just going to be huge. So without further ado, let’s check out…
A Day in the Life of Cassie Hamer
9:07am I blink lazily. Fingers of sunlight caress the bedroom. The distant sounds of crashing waves float on the breeze. Gently, David Beckham places a cup of tea by my bedside and suddenly we are galloping on unicorns along the beach, but somehow holding hands…. Wait. What? Hang on. I get it now. I’ve woken in the middle of a dream and it’s actually 6:07am and those galloping unicorns are not David Beckham’s mythological pet beasts, they’re actually my three daughters, clumping about the living room.
6:11am After four minutes, I admit defeat on trying to return to my Beckham dream, dress quickly and stumble downstairs. We don’t own alarm clocks. Actually, no, that’s not quite right. We have three of them – all human. My girls wake at the same godforsaken early hour every single day of the year, except Christmas, when they wake even earlier.
Still, they get a kiss. Then, I let our puppy outside for a wee, make a cuppa, empty the dishwasher, and start packing lunchboxes. #peakglamour
7am I give up on urging my kids to eat brekky and dress (they see both actions as some kind of huge favour to me) and take either myself or the dog for a walk. Generally, when I walk I listen to a writing podcast because a) it distracts me from the actual effort of exercising b) it gets me excited about writing. Favourites include The First Time, So You Want to Be a Writer, Better Reading and Mom and Dad are Fighting.
7:50am Return home to find husband has convinced the kids that dressing and eating are basic self-care functions and not lavish gestures of generosity to their parents. He does hair (there’s lots of it, and luckily, he’s very good at a French-braid).
Having consulted our daily calendar to see if it’s jazz/netball/library/swimming/ukulele day, I boot the girls out the door to school.
8:40am The house is blessedly, almost eerily quiet. I set up my ‘office’ at the dining room table and start writing straight away. Ha! As if! Sometimes I go to work (casual English teaching) but today is a writing day, so I make a coffee and spend half an hour doing VERY IMPORTANT RESEARCH on the internet (ie checking Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Mamamia.com.au, News.com.au and SMH.com.au)
9.15am Twenty minutes of VERY IMPORTANT RESEARCH has become half an hour. That’s ok. Any moment, I’m expecting my wondrous writing muse, Elodie, to land on my shoulder and start whispering glorious words in my ear for me to dictate to the page. Sadly, Elodie is not available today (or any day) and I get Marjorie, who sits on my shoulder and tells me everything I write is rubbish. Fortunately, I am even more deaf than Marjorie and can’t hear her.
9:17am Have written 50 words. Reward myself with a social media break.
9:45am Have written another 150 words. Reward myself with a social media break.
10:20am Have written 500 words. Reward myself with…. Okay, I think you know where this is going. I’m in first draft mode. At this point, words are everything. My goal is 2000 words for the day. At this stage, there is no editing or self-censoring. There are many XXXXs for things I need to return to later. For now, there is no such thing as bad writing or bad ideas. I just need to get a story down. Am I a plotter or a pantser? I’m a bit of both, which makes me a plontser??!! I have a rough idea of the story arc and when I sit down I know the scene I want to write and try to map that in my head or on paper. A scene has to advance the overall plot but it is also a story in itself that requires two things – emotional change and conflict. I try to know these two things in advance. It seems to make the writing far more efficient.
2.14pm I’m done. My words are done. I’m pretty spent by this point and feel like climbing under the table where the dog lies, asleep, as she has been for the past four hours while I have been slaving at the computer making made-up stories and ‘liking’ things on social media. It’s tough, I tell you. The dog wags her tail in agreement. I now give myself half an hour to transition from the make-believe world to the real one mostly because I worry that, some day, my epitaph will read ‘A good mother, but quite distracted.’
3:30pm I’ve collected the kids from school and we’re home. I’m going to fast forward the next two hours because it’s a boring round of me unpacking backpacks, making dinner, supervising bathing, and probing the girls like a CIA investigator about their days. Frankly, I wish I could actually fast-forward this time IRL.
7:30pm Husband and I have eaten dinner and spend the next half hour figuring out what to watch on Netflix. Currently, we are binging on Money Heist. It’s excellent and has the added advantage of going for 20 episodes, which means we don’t have to trawl the Netflix menu for three weeks.
9.15pm Check on children and kiss them. They are so lovable when they’re silent and not moving! I go to bed early so I can read at least a few pages of something before falling asleep. My bedside table is almost exclusively the domain of women writers (usually Australian) but I will make an exception for a good book on the craft of writing (‘Save the Cat’ is my current fave), and the occasional male author (‘Scrublands’ by Chris Hammer was excellent and worth the hype).
9:45pm Eyelids are fluttering. Can’t keep them open. David Beckham is calling… Sigh. Sweet, sweet sleep.
The Hot 5
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
Disappearing into my imagination, and who doesn’t love a job where your dog can sleep at your feet while you’re working.
Who are your favourite authors?
Ugh! The hardest question. It’s as impossible as trying to choose a favourite child. (Okay, it’s the middle one. But shhh! Don’t tell her that)
What’s the hardest thing about the writing process?
Marjorie (see above). That narky woman does not know when to quit.
What’s your go-to food or drink during writing?
Espresso Martinis. I write AMAZING stories when I’m tipsy, but also very, very awake.
What’s your number one tip for aspiring authors?
Don’t do it…
No, sorry. I mean, JUST DO IT!
About Cassie (and her book!)
Cassie Hamer has a professional background in journalism and PR, but now much prefers the world of fiction over fact. In 2015, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing, and has since achieved success in numerous short story competitions. (Complete list below)
After the Party is her first novel. Cassie lives in Sydney with her terrific husband and three, mostly-terrific daughters, who still believe piñatas are a fun and effective method of lolly-distribution.
She is working on her second novel, but always has time to connect with other passionate readers via her website – CassieHamer.com – or through social media.