I’m lucky enough to get to write full time. The painter Chuck Close once said that inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work, and that very much goes for writing too. When I was still day jobbing (I’ve worked pretty much every day job under the sun – from secretarial to retail to waitressing to handing out flyers on Oxford Street dressed as a squirrel and a brief stint on an oil refinery) I dreamt of my future authorly life which would mostly consist of flouncing around a castle wearing something flowy and probably drinking whisky. I’m sad to report that it’s not quite the case. No castle, rarely flowy things, only sometimes whisky.
Okay, fairly often whisky.
At the moment, I’m writing two different books: one that has been commissioned by an audio book company in Sweden and the other the third in my self published trilogy Dark of Night. That’s the main thing I didn’t account for back in my day dreaming days: to earn a full time living as a writer, there is precious little time for flouncing. I work as a screenwriter, copywriter, blogger, journalist, novelist – basically, wherever there is words, you’ll probably find me. My plan for the next year is to transition to full time indie author – watch this space!
I have to be particularly disciplined with my daily word count for the audio book as it is to a fairly tight deadline, so I start with that every morning. I switch my phone and laptop onto airplane mode, stick my noise-cancelling earphones on (my upstairs neighbour is a piano teacher!) and set the timer on my phone for 55 minutes. When the timer goes off, I give myself a social media, tea or stretching break – whichever feels the most necessary! – then set it again. When I’ve hit the minimum 3000 words I need to keep up on the audio book, I get dressed (ahh, did I not mention that my morning writing sprints are in my jammies? That’s a bit flouncy, I suppose!).
In the afternoon I go for a walk and dictate a chapter of Dark of Night: Episode Three. I’m fairly new to dictating and I haven’t properly cracked it yet. I’m persevering because I don’t think I could handle another set of writing sprints in a day without steam coming out my ears, and I have to make progress on Episode Three somehow. The pages I dictate are pretty rough round the edges, but at least I’m getting to hammer out the story so I’ll have a fairly developed rough draft from which to work once I’ve turned the audio book in.
I’ve just finished the final set of tweaks on my screenplay that is due to shoot in Canada later this year, but when I get home from my walk I might have emails from the producer to deal with, possible copywriting jobs to negotiate, or promotion ideas for Dark of Night to work on.
I’ve very much learning all the promotion/marketing side of things as I go, and I worry a bit about missing opportunities because I’m floundering in the dark a bit (no pun intended). It’s fun to turn my brain to something completely different, though, and hopefully practice will make perfect… eventually! When Dark of Night is completed (though it’s the first of three trilogies that will make up the full series) I have a fun idea for a time travel fantasy involving Vikings invading modern day Glasgow that I want to work on – and after that maybe I’ll get some time for flouncing!