I am currently blessed with a relatively unstructured life as a Ph.D student. My day is never just a writing day, as I am never just a writer. I’m equally divided into three parts: writer, philosopher, and circus artist, and my breaks from each one are where I find space to do the others.
I usually rise around 8:30am, and do not do anything functional until I read the news for the day, and have a cup of earl grey tea. I work from 9 until 4, unless I am teaching circus in the evening, in which case I finish a little earlier. I eschew proper workspaces, and mostly work in a corner of the couch in my two-bedroom apartment’s living room, curled up with Luna my cat. I have two cats, but she has chosen me as her primary person, while my other furry friend, Auri, generally spends the day working with my partner in his office. When I work, I rotate through projects: reading articles and making notes , putting 500 words on the novel, editing a short story, marking, typing up a poem from my notebook, putting 300 words on my most recent essay, and drafting a philosophy blog post for Moral Guillotines once a week. I do these in no particular order, but rather as whims or deadlines or ideas take me. When I run out of ideas is usually when I make submissions as a break, or have a snack. I work on a system of input food (or more tea), and output words.
When I teach circus in the evenings, I make a 45 minute drive out to the studio I teach at, and I spend that time listening to audiobooks or music, and thinking about various writing projects both creative and academic. Often when I arrive I have a quiet 5-10 minutes to jot down ideas or poems in my notebook. I often find myself scribbling down poetry or working on short stories in other places when I’m out and about at coffee shops, bars, or even concerts, and often sleep with my notebook and pen under my pillow to jot down half-asleep ideas and lines that come to me in nightmares. Thankfully, my partner is understanding.
My writing is often a process not necessarily of sitting down to write, but rather of being-in-the-world and of letting the world wash over me, and making enough space to record the experience afterwards. I cannot write without other activities interspersed between writing periods, and likely would not be able to accomplish my other activities or even be a functioning and emotionally healthy human being without having the time and space to process myself and my experiences through writing. I let the wind move me, and my hungers and cravings both intellectual and otherwise drive me. Some might say my workspace, or my style is a mess, (or I am a mess), and it probably is, (and I probably am) but it also works for me.
Lynne Sargent is a writer, aerialist, and philosophy Ph.D candidate currently studying at the University of Waterloo. Their work has been published in venues such as Strange Horizons, Plenitude, and Augur Magazine, among others. In the past, they have been both a Rhysling and Aurora Award Nominee for poetry. Their first poetry collection A Refuge of Tales is forthcoming from Renaissance Press. To find out more, reach out to them on Twitter @SamLynneS, or for a complete list of their works, visit them at scribbledshadows.wordpress.com.