In terms of pages written, yesterday wasn’t my most dazzling day as an author. I punched in plenty of hours and did lots of research, but I only managed to write one page. I was tired – I never write well when I’m tired. And the kids were squabbling – they’re still squabbling. Twelve more sleeps to the first day of school.
Chapters 5 and 6 have turned into chapters 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Deadline for the Percy Janes First Novel Award competition is 97 days away and I have roughly 12 chapters left to write. I hate the word “hate,” so I’ll say only that I strongly dislike the countdown app on my iPhone. It wigs me out.
This new career of mine doesn’t pay anything, requires me to work 14-hour days and keeps me awake at night thinking about plot holes, character motivation and the right way to hold a lance.
But you know what? I love this job. A bad day as an author is still infinitely better than a good day in “the circus” (as John le Carré so aptly called the federal bureaucracy). For starters the coffee is better and I can work in my pajamas. But mostly, there’s no approvals process. I can make as many edits to my drafts as I want and I won’t have to wait three weeks for it to go through 10 layers of approvals because I changed “a” to “the.” I can also write in the active voice now. I feel quite the rebel creating characters that take responsibility for the things they’ve done – and for the most part, they do what I ask them. I expect a union rep will call any day now and tell me that fighting dragons isn’t in my protagonist’s collective agreement.
I don’t have many bad days as an author, but when I do, I flip over to YouTube and search “advice for aspiring authors.” Today I came across this interview with Alice Munro – I laughed the whole way through, and then got back to writing.
I hope it makes you smile too – regardless of what kind of day you’re having.