Friday, 25 June 2010
A writer's day
Do you have a writing routine?' Question at school event.
6.30am. Alarm goes off. Shower and dress. Wake children.
7.15am. Check Hotmail accounts. Look at Facebook. Look at Twitter. Look at Blogger.com. Read Guardian online. Feed guinea pigs.
7.30am Paperboy delivers Guardian. Flick through it, but have read most of it already. Start suduko puzzle. Make toast for son, who is playing on Wii.
7.55am Daughter appears downstairs. Nibbles piece of bread. Claims to have stomach ache. Diagnose non-urgent ailment and tell her she will survive a day at school.
8am Deliver children to various bus stops. Drive home. Cup of tea. Complete suduko puzzle. Gauge mental alertness by speed and ease of completing puzzle. Ok. Not bad.
8.50 am. Check Hotmail again. Check Blogger. Check Twitter. Check Amazon ranking. Google self. Check Facebook. Back to Hotmail.
9am. Switch off internet connection. Flex fingers. Empty mind of all thoughts except next chapter. Write a sentence. Delete it.
9.05am. Dressing-gowned husband comes down the stairs, carrying radio, blaring out Desert Island Discs. Makes himself toast. Spreads it with hummus. Sits down at table opposite me. Smell of hummus overwhelming.
9.06am. Switch internet connection back on again. Check Hotmail again. Check Blogger. Check Twitter. Check Amazon ranking. Google self. Check Facebook. Back to Hotmail.
9.07am. Glare at radio. Cough loudly. Say: ‘This is my workspace, you know.’
9.08 am. Decide to write later, do chores now. Will try and do everything with head full of plot and characters so that Chapter 10 will just flow when I start writing later.
9.30am. Go to supermarket.Float around thinking about Chapter 10. Spend vastly more than had expected.
9.45 am Go to WH Smith to buy envelopes for posting books. Check bookshelves. No, they haven’t started stocking my book. Walk to local independent bookshop, which has one copy of book. Buy it, as present for kind people who have invited us for supper tonight. Calculate amount of copies I will have to sell to cover cost of buying own book. Think it’s nine. Worry about whether local bookshop will bother to restock book now I have bought last one.
10 am. Get home. Write an entire paragraph. Car alarm goes off on the industrial estate at the bottom of my garden. Decide to make lasagne for tomorrow’s lunch. Worry about daughter’s stomach ache. Car alarm still going. Delete paragraph.
10.10am Realise that have not bought cheese at supermarket. Can't make lasagne without cheese. Walk to corner shop. Buy local paper and cheese.
10. 30am. Car alarm still going. Ring company that runs warehouse which backs onto our house. Discover that they haven't used that warehouse for six years. No, they don't know which company has taken over.
10.35am Hotmail/Google/Facebook/Twitter/Blogger/Amazon. Oooh. Have gone up 40,000 places in ranking since last checked Amazon. Rush over to Novelrank.com. Excellent. Have sold one book on Amazon today.
10.45am Car alarm still going. Make lasagne. Read local paper while it is in oven. Check hotmail etc.
11.35am. Lasagne is ready. Perhaps I should go to library to escape car alarm. But laptop battery only has one and a half hours to go. Decide to hang on – surely someone will switch off car alarm - and wait until the battery has run out and then I can charge it up again. Write some emails. Moan about car alarm on twitter and Facebook. Enagage in light banter. Feel relieved that others are wasting time social networking during the day.
12.10pm. Eat lunch. Do some admin. Car alarm still going. Call environmental health, who are not there and do not have an answerphone.
12.30 pm. Call police. 'We'll see what we can do,' they say. 'Have you tried ringing environmental health?'
12.40 pm. Husband says: ‘Shall we go to the park and have lunch? After all you can’t be getting much writing done with that alarm going off.’
Me: ‘I’ve had lunch.’
12.45pm Try environmental health again. Get cut off. Check Hotmail etc….
2pm It’s 2pm? How can it be 2pm ? I’ve achieved nothing !
2.05pm Get through to environmental health. Report car alarm. ‘Someone will call you shortly,’ they say.
2.10pm. Start writing blog post. Why am I writing blog post when I haven’t written any of target 1,000 words of chapter 10? Why? Why? Because it’s easier, is why.
2.50pm. Hotmail etc. Some interesting blogs to read. Environmental health call, promise that they will track down alarm and stop it.
3.10pm. Suddenly realise how to start Chapter 10. Start writing. I like it! Write 600 words….I love it…this is great stuff…I can hardly hear the car alarm.
3.35pm Environmental health call. They have located the car alarm. Trying to find its owner. Promise me it will be turned off within two hours. I can hear the alarm twice - on the phone and in real life. 'It's very loud, isn't it?' says the environmental health officer.
3.40pm. Daughter arrives home from school. Stomach ache all day. Turned away from medical room because it was too full. Likes the new school skirt I have bought her because it is extremely short. Helps herself to snack and goes upstairs.
3.45pm Writing like a maniac. Writing like a genius. Love it, love it…chapter 10 is going to be fantastic. I’m making myself laugh…this book is really coming together…Car alarm drones on.
4.05pm Son arrives home from school. Switches on TV. ‘I can’t believe you aren’t watching Brazil versus Portugal.’ Grind teeth. Go on writing. Alarm ringing in one ear, vuvuzelas in the other.
4.35pm Yes! 1,000 words. Done! Don’t read them through in case I hate them.
4.40pm. Rush to post office to post copy of book to school that missed out when we were handing them out at Islington Carnegie event. Buy washing powder, cherries...all the things I forgot at supermarket in the morning.
5pm. Arrive home. Check Hotmail etc. Lovely email from two of the girls who were at Islington Carnegie event, they have already read When I Was Joe and they enjoyed it. Thanks Angel and Natasha!
5.30 pm. Car alarm stops. Phew. Hurray for Haringey Council's environmental health department!
18.00 pm Finish blog post. Switch off computer.