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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Evidence that watching laughing baby videos is an integral part of a writer's day


I was the runner-up in a competition recently with this short piece about 'A Day in a Writer's Life'.  I thought you'd enjoy it, especially if, like me, you tell people you are 'writing' when you are really watching gymnastic cats and laughing babies on Youtube.



9 January 2013
6am
Woke up from a dream.  Was dressed in a lime green ski suit and running through a dark tunnel with my Granny and a cousin from Australia.  Granny was yelling out lines from ‘Macbeth’ and breathing fire.  There was a tsunami.  Wrote plotline in my ‘From Dream to Bestseller’ notebook and forced myself out of bed to make tea.  Was determined to get at least three chapters written today.
9am
NB: Confucius say: ‘Lady who take tea back to bed is not writing lady, but snoring lady.’
10am
Sat at my computer, staring at a blank screen and a reflection of me in the screen, staring at a blank screen.  Wondered whether the kitchen floor needed scrubbing.  Wrote a scene in which a woman cleans her kitchen floor and dreams of life on a Greek island with Tom Conti.   Thought it would fit well into my novel except that a) mine’s a crime novel set in rural Ireland; b) I would have to research Greece and research is so tedious; c) it was someone else’s story. 
12am
Made a sandwich and ate it while writing so I could tell Stewart I had a working lunch.  One thing led to another.  Those cat videos on Youtube are hilarious!  And the laughing babies!    
It’s surprising how long you can make a cheese and pickle sandwich and toffee yogurt last.

2pm
While having coffee, I read an article in a writing magazine about keeping a Writer’s To-Do List.   While having another coffee, and nine Bourbons, I wrote a to-do list of writing goals.  Then found, in the same notebook, a to-do list I’d written six months ago and forgotten about.  Compared old and new.  They were the same, though I did buy the printer cartridge.
3.30pm
Discovered that my main character, Daisy, had brown eyes in Chapter 1, green eyes in Chapter 3, and in Chapter 9, one brown and one green.  Chapter 9 must have been my ‘idiosyncrasy’ phase.  By Chapter 14, both eyes were brown again.  Did a ‘Find and Replace’ to change them all back to brown, but it did strange things to my descriptions of Ireland’s rural landscapes.  Aarrggh!
5.00pm
Started logging off so I could cook dinner.  Then Stewart texted to say he’d be late and not to worry about dinner until at least 7.  ‘Carry on writing,’ he said.  Wondered whether to start on another chapter.
5.15pm
Watched ‘Pointless’.  Then browsed BBC News website for news stories to inspire fiction.  Apparently Ian Rankin does this too.  Felt like a bona fide member of the writing community.  Made shepherd’s pie.
7.45pm
Stewart said he wanted to watch Die Hard 2 and, as it wasn’t my kind of film, he didn’t mind if I went up to the study to write.

10.45pm
Climbed into bed to write this.  Die Hard 2’s better than I remembered.

 
Another productive day 


32 comments:

  1. Haha. Made me laugh a lot, again. You sum up the writer's life perfectly. Why do we put ourselves through it? Great chortle, as ever...

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    1. We put ourselves through it because one HAS to have some excuse for spending time watching laughing baby videos, and 'writer's block' is as good an excuse as any ...

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  2. The tangle with eye color hit perfectly. I've changed a major character's name and now have a lurking dread that the mechanics of my computer didn't catch them all and some publisher (if only!) will see it and realize what a rank amateur I am.
    And thanks. Not often that I actually do LOL.

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    1. I'm glad I made you LOL.

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  3. Ah, yes, that Greek Island and Tom Conti. Take me to him, Dear Lord! Your writing day sounds remarkably similar to most of mine.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That was a fervent prayer if ever I've heard one!

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  4. Runner up? I'd have given you first place.

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    1. You're so kind, and completely partisan, seeing as you didn't see the first prize piece!

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  5. We have so much in common Fran. I love the cute cat videos on Youtube too.

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    1. It's not as though there is a shortage of these videos either. Maybe failing pop stars and actors should think about having a cat in the background leaping through hoops or draped over the head of a giant dog, and then people would watch their videos more.

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  6. This has made me feel so much better about my own situation, Fran.

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    1. I'm here to serve. Who needs a therapist?

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  7. Perhaps Daisy has a collection of coloured contact lenses ? !

    Oh God... here am I sitting at the laptop when I shouldn't be !

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  8. If some composer can sell silence I don't see why a writer can't publish a blank piece of paper...

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    1. You're right. If I call it something profound like 'Thoughts in the Wind' I could sell millions of copies.

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  9. Your story made me laugh. Gran - great! I sold a story to Woman's Weekly where the main character's name changed half way through - luckily they were very kind about the error,

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    1. It's enough to wake one up in the night sweating, these possibilities.

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    2. I must just say that they pointed out the error before publishing luckily.

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  10. Yes! So funny, and so scarily accurate - especially the bit about how long a sandwich can last!

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    1. Especially if you make it out of a whole French loaf. That puts off the writing for a LONG time....

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  11. Brilliant and exactly right!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nearly. If only it weren't all true ...

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  12. Next time , just call it Research ( the capital R is , in this case , pronounced ) . Everyone will be impressed .

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    1. They won't believe me. I tried that during my last book and there wasn't a laughing baby or gymnastic cat in sight. I tried putting them in a sub-plot but this jarred uncomfortably with the main themes.

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  13. Nope. Don't recognise this at all. Ahem.

    Actually, I find that reading blogs puts off LOTS of time without resorting to cats or babies.

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    1. So, blogs, mogs or sprogs. Select your procrastination choice now!

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  14. OH yes, you're so much a writer.

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    1. Takes one to know one ...

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  15. Fran - I remember talking to you about this at the ACW day in Birmingham. Very amusing, and I can certainly identify with most of what you said. I've never wondered about scrubbing the kitchen floor, though. However, I'm right with you on research. As in the old writers rule, 'Write what you know (it saves having to research)'.
    Anyhow, I'm now inspired to blog my own (failed) competition entry. No point in letting it go to waste, after all!

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    1. Thanks, Paul. I've been looking for your piece on your blog this morning but maybe you haven't posted it yet. Put a link on the FB page when you do.


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    2. I'm having a slow day today! Not that I have many fast days... I'll let it be known when it's up!

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