Sunday, 16 December 2012

Guest Post: A Day In The Life Of An Author By Henrietta Bond

A day in the life

8am: Alarm goes off. It hasn’t got a chance. What was I thinking when I set it last night? 

9.30am: This is more my idea of an ‘early start’. Apologise to cat that is sleeping on my hip and make way to shower. Shower is once again running cold. Make way to office in my dressing gown (which fortunately is next to the bathroom, on top floor of the house). Find that computer got left on over night and is sulking. Turn off computer and restart. 

10am Computer still sulking. Go downstairs and make porridge. Listen to Radio 4. Look at FaceBook and Twitter.

10.30am Use my mobile to email my editor, to ‘check’ the deadline for the novel. It’s meant to be next Monday but I’m hoping she has forgotten this. Currently I have only written about 25,000 words and it’s meant to be circa 65,000. I don’t tell her this, but I do admit to having a couple of months of ‘writers block’.

11am Computer is starting to cooperate. Check my email and find that a client needs my help. I email her with some reassuring words and suggest she rings me if she needs further help. (I’m a coach, consultant and trainer as well as an author, and the variety is good. It gives me lots of excuses not to get on with my novel.) 

11.30am My editor emails me to say she understands about writer’s block. This is the third book in a series of novels for young adults – (the series title is ‘Control Freak’) so we know each other quite well by now. She says she trusts me because I’m good at delivering the goods at the last minute. I am hugely relieved and very grateful. 

12noon Sending out invoices for some training I did last week. Chasing up some unpaid invoices. Thinking about the novel I am writing for a possible new agent who wants to see something ‘different’ from my current novels. I have already written a bit of this ‘other’ novel but put it on a backburner when I realised deadline was looming for the current one…  

12.30 Receive a text reminding me that Creative Writing Group is going ahead this afternoon. It is run by a friend of mine who is a performance poet. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Do I have time to write a bit of current novel before I go? Probably not – I need to write back to my editor and thank her for the postponed deadline. I also need to worry about whether it’s too late to send my Christmas cards by 2nd post.

1pm Find that all clothes seem to be in the wash. Find a berry-red cord smock that makes me feel like an ‘artiste’. Wear this with velvet trousers and lots of amber jewellery. 

1.45pm Order organic soup and wholesome bread from the café where the Creative Writing Group is held. Kiss a lot of people and tell them about my extended deadline. They are all much better poets than me but I’m one of the few published fiction writers in the group, so I have to boost my confidence as much as I can. 

2pm – Two hours of wonderful, crazy activity. We do lots of short bursts of writing about joyfully random topics our tutor has spent hours preparing. Everything is freeform, and the only rules are ‘never apologise/never explain’. Almost without exception the group members are highly creative and adventurous individuals and I spend much of the session laughing my head off at some clever word play or in awe of some profound observation. I learnt long ago not to be put off by other people’s efforts. My own style tends to be a bit sarcastic, a little offbeat, not dissimilar to the way I write my novels. 

4pm A brilliant couple of hours and the creative juices have been flowing…Producing a ten-minute poem inspired by a couple of scholarly quotes and a recent news story about a naked man who insisted on sitting on a statue of a former Duke of Cambridge, was probably the highlight. I have a lot of fun writing the following, which isn’t great art but gives everyone a giggle. 

‘It is never acceptable to be naked on a statue of a former Duke of Cambridge
Nor is it suitable to disrobe completely in the presence of effigies 
Of Queen Victoria, Nelson Mandela or Edgar Alan Poe.
However should it be deemed necessary, fortuitous or health-restoring
It is occasionally acceptable to remove one’s undergarments
In front of certain paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites,
Although important to accept that galleries require suitable notice
And usually prefer this to happen
Outside normal visiting hours.
A little twirling in one’s bathrobe is also permitted
Before statues of Ethelred the Unready
And should the need completely overcome you,
It is acceptable to appear in your birthday suit
Before Cleopatra’s needle. 

4.30pm I am having hot chocolate and teacakes with members of the writing group. This is what us writer types do, isn’t it? We discuss the importance of forgiveness and all feel very virtuous. 

5.45pm  I drop the group tutor at her house and she invites me in for herbal tea. (Did I mention that she’s one of my close friends). We talk about how I must get on with my novel and how she must finish a picture that’s on her easel… We talk about this for a long time

7.15pm I decide it really is time to go home.  The roads are frosty and my car isn’t impressed. 

7.35pm My husband is home from a shopping trip (he’s taken a day off). He says he has a present for me. I love presents and suspect it’s a book… but it’s a laptop. A new lightweight one to replace the elderly one I currently own, and which is threatening to give out at any moment. I feel overwhelmed by his generosity. I’ve been intending to buy one for a while but the present comes as a total surprise. 

8pm Husband is cooking supper and I’m trying to write the novel. Instead I answer some emails. 

9pm Supper is over and the new laptop has been named Lucinda. I decide it’s too late to write any novel tonight. However when I go to turn off my computer, I notice something that needs editing. 

10pm Still writing but will stop soon as need an early night. Another ‘early start’ in the morning and I will need to be fresh as a daisy

11.30pm Still writing. Main character, Holly is worried about her younger brother, Ryan, who is clearly depressed. Ryan has been depressed through the previous two novels as young men and mental health issues is a big thing of mine… Not sure why my readers put up with me. 

12.35am In bed and about to put out the light. But first I need to check my FaceBook page. Nobody new has liked my Control Freak page but it did get four new followers earlier in the week, so I can’t really complain. 

1.30am Finish ‘liking’ all the cheerful, mindless and significant things other people have been doing all day. And added a few of my own. Cat comes in and perches on my hip while I pummel the pillow into its perfect shape. Goodnight world. 
Thank you Henrietta for taking the time to write this personal account. I realise that you have many deadlines to work to and appreciate that this was an extra one for you, but a big thank you for finding the time to write and send this in. As a matter of interest, how is the book count developing - are you closer to the 65,000 words? Hopefully 'Lucinda' will be helping you along and supporting your productivity!

If you would like to find out more about Henrietta and her other books then please click on the link below:

Web site 

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