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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Writing. Almost like a real job, except no one sees you doing it...

SCENE - an author's office.

The author himself is typing away.  'Bond entered the room.  The lovely young girl was astride the...'
"Ian!  Eeeeeeeyyyyuuuuunnnn!"
Wearily the author goes to the door and calls down the stairs to his lady wife.  "Yes, dear?"
"I'm off then.  Don't forget to put the bins out."
"No, dear."
"Oh, and this carpet could do with the hoover run over it."
 "Yes, dear."  He goes back to his typewriter, pauses a moment, then begins typing.  "...astride the chair, hands cuffed behind her..."
This time he doesn't go to the door.  He merely calls out.  "Yes, dear?"
"Could you put the oven on at twelve?  The Pratchetts are coming for dinner and I thought we'd have duck."
"Yes, dear."
"Oh, and don't forget the bins, will you?  There's plastic bottles all over the conservatory."
"No, dear."
The door closes and there is a pause of some seconds.  Long enough for him to turn his chair back to his desk.
There is a knock at the front door.
"Morning, Mr Fleming!  Lovely day. Would you mind taking in this parcel for Number Eleven?  Think they've popped out."
"I suppose so."
 Ian places the parcel on the table in the hall, signs for it, and closes the front door.  Wearily he treads his way back up the stairs and settles himself at his desk.  'cuffed behind her.  Doctor X had his rifle trained on her..'
The telephone rings.
"Mr Fleming?  Could you come and pick up Alicia, please?  She says she feels sick and her teacher says she's looking very peaky."
A sigh.  "I'll be there in ten minutes."
The front door bangs.  "Dad!  Daaaaad!"
"Yes, Simon?  I thought you were at Henry's all day."
"Yeah.  Was.  Came back to pick up me trainers.  Can you run us over to Sebastian's?  We're at band practice tonight and his dad says we can use the garage."
"Just a minute.  I have to pick up your sister first."
"Ohhhh, daaaaaad!"
There is another knock at the front door.  "Good morning!  Can you spare us five minutes?  We're doing a survey on the different types of pipecleaner that people use..."
"Sorry, I'm a little bit busy."
"DAD!  It's school on the phone, Alicia's been sick all over the infants again, can you bring a change of clothes for her?"
"Just a minute."
Ian Fleming climbs the stairs and enters his office.  He stares at his typewriter for a moment, before pulling the half-used sheet of paper off the platen and throwing it into the bin.  He replaces it with a clean sheet and starts to type.

'See Spot run.  Run, Spot, run.  See the dog run.'


Sigh.  I bet Terry Pratchett doesn't have to put up with it. Plus, in other news, I have been awarded a 'Versatile Blogger Award' which means I have to tell you things about me that you don't already know.  That is for next week.... so you might want to have a notepad beside you.


Ranae Rose said...

LOL, this is so true. I find that the only person who respects my writing time is, well, ME. Everyone else seems to think that my stories write themselves while I sit around eating chocolate and watching sitcoms.

Debs Carr said...

So hilarious, and so true!

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I so hear that. I particularly hate people who want to meet up for lunch, etc., and expect me to be free because 'I do nothing all day'.

Christina Courtenay said...

You mean we don't do "nothing" all day? Wow, who knew? LOL

Flowerpot said...

It's always the same when you work for yourself!

Jane Lovering said...

Writing is, apparently, the thing you do in between laundry, washing up, hoovering, bank visits, vet visits, taking in parcels and answering the phone. I think all writers should have wives!

Anonymous said...

This is so true, Jane! People just don't realise.

Lesley Cookman said...

I have long subscribed to this opinion. And now I (mostly) live alone it's almost worse. People think I've got more nothing to do - don't have kids around etc etc. Mind you, my daughter, mother of my grandsmalls, has now said she's scared of interrupting me if I'm writing. I am polishing my horns and tail.

Sarah Callejo said...

I'm still nodding. I had to be quite rude to stop people from using me for unimportant errands. No I give them the glare before they even think of asking me.

Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

It's amazing how people think they can interrupt you whenever they like, because y'know, all great novelists write three words at a time in between fixing the Sky+ and listening to a recital of their mum's friend's daughter's baby troubles. With a barking dog in the background. And the Weakest Link on downstairs. And "Don't forget to fill up the cats' water bowl," because only Great Novelists are capable of this task.

Yet, when I mention I'm going out for lunch, or doing a spot of shopping, there's an endless chorus of, "Ooh, wish I could do that, but I have a REAL job!"

Run, Spot. Run.

Frank Tuttle said...

The perfect writer's office is at the bottom of a secret shaft that descends some 4,000 meters below the Earth's surface. There is no telephone, no cell service, no intercom. The entrance is known to no one but the writer.

Hmm, upon reflection, I doubt that 4000 meters is deep enough...

Jane Lovering said...

You are all clearly writers. Nonwriters, to whom I try to explain this predicament, just shrug and say 'well, you're home, aren't you?' as though writing wasn't the soul-torturing torment of a task that it is but a mere equivalent to eating Walnut Whips and listening to the Wombats.

Elizabeth Currie said...

Shaken but not stirred! This is a sobering insight into your writers' reality Jane! Life management and assertion classes always try to teach you how to say 'No'. But I don't know how far they go down the road of what you do when no-one listens to that! It takes multi-tasking into the nightmare zone. But the problem with any creative function is 'the flow'. When that's interrupted it takes a disproportionate amount of time to try to recover the 'now where was I?' position. But you're not alone (as clearly the many comments above show). Actually you're in exalted time honoured company. I don't know how it was for Shakespeare (he did write 'Love Labours Lost' and 'Taming of the Shrew') but Samuel Taylor Coleridge, famous for 'The Ballad of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan' (In Xanadu etc ...) was in full flow writing the latter (and also it is said on a cocaine 'high'!) when he was interrupted by what in those days (late 18th C) passed for an insurance salemsan knocking at his door. By the time he got back to his desk after the usual 'Wot? No thanks, just bugger off!' had completely lost his flow and hence one of the world's most famous poems remains unfinished! So, in short, another dry martini or just more cocaine ....?

Jane Lovering said...

Why, thank you Liz, I don't mind if I do...

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It is not easy being an author, great post :)

Dizzy C said...

Great article.

I often see tweets from authors saying they are not meeting their word count for the day or getting excited because they I can see why :)