Megan Abbott’s Work Diary: ‘My Psychiatrist Notes How Tired I Look, Which Is Great’

Megan Abbott’s Work Diary: ‘My Psychiatrist Notes How Tired I Look, Which Is Great’

9 p.m. Weary from the time difference, I walk back to my hotel and crawl into bed.

5 a.m. Wake up and stumble downstairs for coffee. I try to get caught up on emails: logistics for Saturday’s Morristown Book Festival, etc.

9:30 a.m. Walk over to the Wallis Annenberg Center, where the New Establishment Summit is underway. The greenroom is bustling, and I meet my co-panelist Amelia Gray, a novelist who wrote for “Maniac” and now “Mr. Robot,” and we find ourselves in a conversation about Isadora Duncan. (Her last novel, “Isadora,” imagined the dancer’s life.) The writer Charles Yu arrives, along with our moderator, Noah Oppenheim, who is the president of NBC News yet somehow managed to write the screenplay for “Jackie” and who feels like the busiest person in a room full of terrifying busy people (A.I. experts, C.E.O.s, etc.). Our panel goes quickly and is lively. I’m always fascinated by how different writers rooms work. Apparently, Red Vines dominate in all of them.

1:30 p.m. I grab lunch and try to devote a few hours to work back in my hotel room. I very tentatively attempt to read a section of my neglected novel-in-progress and soon realize all the chapters are out of order. The thought of restructuring is so overwhelming, I fall asleep, waking just in time to meet Gina for drinks.

7 p.m. Back at my hotel, I eat chia pudding for dinner and watch “The Real Housewives of Dallas.” An unceremonious end to the day.

5 a.m. Coffee, email, newspaper, NPR.

6 a.m. I head out for oatmeal again and an early-morning walk around Beverly Hills. Back in my room, I tweet about Elmore Leonard’s birthday, which helps get my brain going (and also reminds me how badly I need to get back to my own writing, that neglected novel-in-progress). Then, emails, packing. I never quite know how to fill that anxious, semi-wasted time before a midday flight home. I lack the concentration to do real writing, so I just do busywork.

11 a.m. I head to the airport and, finding my flight delayed, grab the nearest bar stool, order a beer (it’s always 5 o’clock at airports) and dive into a galley of Hilary Davidson’s upcoming suspense novel, “One Small Sacrifice,” which absorbs me handily through the next two hours’ wait.

Midnight (Eastern) A bumpy and late landing at J.F.K. and I’m home just before midnight, making a quick late dinner of salad and smashed Peeps I find in my suitcase from Tuesday night’s party.

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