Life As We Know It...

Last week I did an interview with an online parenting magazine.
Well, Caitlin Moran had asked me to do a piece for the Sunday Times but a gal can have too much exposure. I suggested she contact Lady Ga Ga.

Anyways, I was answering the lovely Sue's questions on how I fit writing around my children - actually, I'm VERY careful about this one after a newspaper printed an article about me entitled 'Solicitor and Supermum.' A breach of trade description if ever there was one - when she asked if I might like to do a diary for them. A week-in-the-life of a writer.

Of course I agreed. It sounded easy and a great idea. Everyone always wants to know how we write and I hoover up the details of any author's schedule as if knowing that Jodi Picoult gets up at five will spur me to the same. For those interested, she does, and it doesn't.

Then I actually thought about it. And my heart sank. A week in the life of JK Rowling might be a whirlwind of book signings and speeches. A week in the life of Helen Black. Not so much.

So I thought I'd do a practise run. Maybe I'd suprise myself. So here it is. My week.

Monday - I spend two hours writing a scene in my sub plot. Very pleased. By the time I have taken a shower I know it's complete rubbish. I delete the scene.

Tuesday - My agent calls. He makes polite conversation skirting around the real issue which is when I will sub my WIP. I fudge. I spend the rest of the day writing in ferocious panic. Most of it is utter crap.

Wednesday - An email from my new editor. Can I send the synopsis of book five. She's lost her copy and wants to take it to a publisher in the States. I dig it out. It's rubbish. No one will ever want to read such a daft piece of tripe. I spend the rest of the day panicking about book five.

Thursday - I realise I must stop panicking about book five and write book four. I spend the day panicking about not having written anything the previous day.

Friday - I have the idea to set my next scene in a crack house. I'm pants at settings and this will be incredibly visual. I google 'crack house' and spend the next four hours weeping over videos of lives runined by drugs on youtube.

Saturday - the kids comandeer my laptop. They have exams so I daren't argue for fear of being a Bad Mother.

Sunday - the sun shines.

So there it is. In all it's boring glory. Suffice it to say, there is a very good reason why I do not blog alone.


Fidelity said...

I think having a sense of self-importance is a must for a writer's success. It's far more so than silly concerns with spelling, punctuation and grammar, which is what I've slaved at from the factory horn's calling in the morning to its hooting home in the evening. I've read all the books ever published on being a successful writer and still am trying to mine what it is that makes a writer. Take Marion Keyes, for example, no, don't...

I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep over it though and refuse to accept any advice that involves staying up late or getting up early - neither fame nor money are worth tired-looking eyes. Look at JKR; she looks like a zombie.

It was only when I went on poetry workshops on the net - which I had (rightly as it turned out) thought the most unsuitable place for a writer - that I began to jump out of bed in the early hours with an idea that might, when crafted into a vilanelle, win me a wisp of praise. I also stayed up very very late at night - defending my 'ego' against the torrents of abuse my early morning efforts earned me.

Great post again Helen.

Old Kitty said...

Agents, editors, book five? Good grief!! That's more exciting than.. well, my week! LOL!!

Oooh congratulations with your interview for the Sunday Times - how exciting!! And of course you are supermum and super solicitor and super writer!

Have a lovely week
take care

Emma Darwin said...

Oh, Helen, swap priest's hole for crackhouse and Book Three/Four for Book Four/Five, and you've nailed it for me...

Great piece.

Helen Black said...

Fidelity - you always make me laugh.
HB x

Geraldine Ryan said...

Helen, this made me laugh so much!

RosyB said...


Susie Nott-Bower said...

Love it. :) With that much panic and angst in the average week, I can (almost) see the merits in not being published!

Leila said...

Love this post, Helen!

Look at JKR; she looks like a "zombie."

I disagree - I think she's looking more and more like Madonna. Meanwhile, Madonna has taken up writing children's books. I think we should be told...

Caroline Green said...

I dunno, still sounds quite glamorous to me! Well, maybe that's going a bit far...;) ;)

Helen Black said...

Leila - I always think Mo Hayder looks a bit Madonna-ish. Maybe she's moonlighting as a thriller writer too.
HB x