A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
There’s no average writer and no average day. We all know that.
I’m always fascinated by HOW other writers organise their time, and judging by the number of A Day In The Life/My Working Day type articles in the weekend supplements, so are many people. I can’t wait to read the rest of this week’s Author Allsorts posts for the same reason. Readers often ask me, What’s an average day like? and I struggle to reply. Because only two things are the same every day: I mostly work, and I go for a walk. Other than that, there’s a fair amount of variation.
So let’s talk about today. Today is more untypical than usual, because I’m between drafts. I finished a draft of my first adult novel a week ago, and I’m giving it two weeks to mature/fester/cavort or do whatever a set-aside draft does, left to its own devices. Last week I was in Scotland, recording a wee video for Street Song publishers, Ink Road; talking to pupils in a secondary school in Falkirk; putting the final touches to the Scattered Authors’ Society’s summer retreat/conference at Charney Manor, along with my writer pal Lee Weatherly. This week is a sort of catch-up, in between time.
I’m at my desk. I spend hours at my desk. I say I go there at nine, but it’s generally 9.30. It’s in my study, overlooking the garden of my small house in County Down, and the fields beyond. It’s usually quite neat because I can’t work in mess. Seven crows are attacking the bird feeder outside so it’s quite noisy, but I don’t want to disturb this post by going to find earplugs.
I have a To Do list – lots of things I put off doing while I was working on my draft, and while I was away last week. Some of them are writerly – a couple of opportunities I want to apply for and the page proofs of my next book, Star By Star (yes, I’ve been busy) to check. Others are more administrative – a list of names to compile of the young writers I am taking to Arvon in July, a PowerPoint to prepare for two school visits later in the week; flights to book to Charney. This blog post!
Disappointed, are you? I know. I feel a bit bad. I should be telling you about writing thousands of words. On another day, that’s exactly what I might be doing – well, about 1-2,000 if it’s a first draft. This time next week I will be looking at the printed out draft of that adult novel, and thinking, Where on earth do I start with this? Right now, there’s a low-level anxiety about that moment when I open the document, but luckily it’s being squashed under the many admin tasks on my To Do list.
Tomorrow, I expect to be correcting proofs most of the day, apart from that school visit I mentioned. Wednesday ditto. On Thursday I am heading down to Dublin; meeting a reading group in one school; handing out reading awards at another; meeting a professor about teaching a creative writing module at a university; going to a friend’s books launch – the lovely Claire Hennessy if you’re interested. On Friday I suspect that, after all that – Dublin is 100 miles away – I might NOT be at my desk by 9.30.
The fact is, there just isn’t a typical day. And I think that’s typical.