5:30 AM: My phone lights up, a luminescent glow amid the otherwise dim bedroom. It broadcasts a cheerful tune, a melody that over time has come to incite a Pavlovian-style response: time to get up. Put on my gym shorts. Eat a banana. Clean the cat litter. Make the bed. Grab a water-bottle. Follow my wife down to the car.
5:50 AM: Drive through the rain, the wet black pavement like a trail of shadow.
6:00 AM: Arrive at Crossfit. Stretches, sit-ups, push-ups, deadlifts, burpees, rowing, wall-balls, handstands, thrusters, running, squats, kettlebells, pull-ups; whatever the work out of the day demands. Sweat. Release. Relax. The hardest part of the day is done.
7:15 AM: Hit the shower. Steam soothes sore muscles and all that sweat rinses down the drain. Honey-scented shampoo and herbal soap . Now I feel human again. Grab a quick breakfast, usually a slice of the quiche I make on weekends.
7:30 AM: Out the door. I live right on the water so it is a short jaunt to the pier. I walk along the harbourfront past sleeping sailboats, wheezing seagulls, and the occasional frolicking otter to my writing spot, a cafe by the name of Javawocky.
7:45 AM: I have my coffee. I am in my usual spot in the back corner with a view of the harbour. Right now I am querying about my first novel so I open the list of publishing houses and agents that I keep on my Google Drive. Twenty five submissions completed. Five rejections so far. One interested response. I pick another off the list and start researching, writing, and filling out their submission requirements.
10:30 AM: I have sent the submission. Maybe I’ve done two. If I have time I take a look at my website and follow up on any social media interactions. Today I check over my notes for an interview later in the week with a mythology podcaster from Scotland. Then I follow up on a guest article I wrote for a small publisher in the States. A public library in Alberta has accepted one of my Maritime poems for a public short story project. Small victories.
11:30 AM: Back at home. File the coffee shop receipt to claim on taxes. Sweep. Vacuum. Laundry. Clean the bathroom. Cleanliness may be next to godliness.
12:30 PM: My partner is home on lunch break. Maybe I’ve made something, but today it’s just Annie’s Mac & Cheese. She’ll be excited anyways; it’s hard to beat an old classic.
1:30 PM: Time to work on my novel. Or keep recording demo tracks for the band. If I’m writing I’m at the table; if I am recording guitar and vocals I am at the desk. The two cats silently observe my creative ritual. Maybe I accomplish a lot. Maybe I don’t. Progress is progress.
4:30 PM: Start making dinner. We’ve already meal planned for the week so there is not much to think about. Should be ready in about an hour.
5:30 PM: Dinner. Conversations over the meal about the day: my wife’s work day, the submissions I sent in the morning, anything new and exciting.
6:30 PM: Work is done for the day. I get a text: friends are meeting up for board games at White Sails, the brewpub just down the road. It’s December but I only need a light jacket or a wool sweater. I do love the West coast.
7:00 PM: Board games at White Sails with a few friends: lawyers, teachers, nurses, small business owners. We may be the leaders of tomorrow, but for today we’re just young professionals, i.e., millennial hipsters who aren’t broke. First things first: 16 oz of Abyss Brown Ale. Last week the game was 7 Wonders. This week it is Dominion and E has brought a new expansion. Attempt a new strategy. It fails. The second one works, almost. So close. Still time for one more beer.
9:00 PM: Home. An early start means an early end. Time for bed so that I can do it all over again.
Joshua Gillingham is a Canadian author from the scenic coastal city of Nanaimo, Canada. He is a published and recorded Celtic and Maritime music lyricist and performs with The Ugly Mugs. In his debut novel The Gatewatch he weaves the mythic elements of Norse mythology and the geography of the Canadian Rocky Mountains together in a gripping adventure tale about young troll hunters who must save their homeland from a wicked Troll-King. He draws from the historical translations and modern adaptations of Norse mythology and Icelandic sagas to craft a story that is distinctly northern. His tale of bravery, courage, and cunning has the flavor and feel of a story told long ago amid the depths of winter within the warm fire-lit halls of ancient Scandinavia.
Discover more at Joshua’s website (www.joshuagillingham.ca), through The Gatewatch Facebook page (@TheGatewatchNovel), or on Twitter (@JoshMGillingham).