Ever notice how, if you’re a writer, everyone thinks you don’t actually have a job?

‘So, what’d you do today?’ they ask, like your average day consists of a bit of shoe shopping followed by lunch at the Wolseley, an hour or two at the nail bar, Countdown, and a nap.

Or, ‘wanna meet for lunch?’

Yes. Well. Lunch is great for people who work in offices because they have to eat anyway and they get an hour off. But for your average writer, lunch means dropping everything just when you’re getting started, heading into town, and returning home in time to start dinner.

‘Come on up for the day!’ is another one.  Tempting in the extreme to jump on a train and visit, but not really practical when three out of the week’s five days are already interrupted by school visits, articles to write, e-mails to answer, talks to give, books to read — plus the usual bills, housework and procrastinations.

Add a little bit of teaching, a few Q&As….and poof!  Another week gone.

Like most writers, I fantasise about lovely empty stretches of time with nothing written in the diary so I can do some work, get into a rhythm, and best of all, think.

A week in which nothing at all happens.

Which is, of course, much worse.


10 thoughts on “What’d you do today?

  1. Maria 8 years ago

    As a one-time wannabe writer I fear I am guilty of this common misconception… Fantasising about the ‘life’ of a writer. Since I don’t actually seem to enjoy writing that much (it feels like torture most of the time) perhaps it’s best if I leave that ambition to one side!

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      If you hate writing, the ‘life’ of a writer isn’t nearly glamorous enough to compensate. Have you thought of marrying rich?

    2. Maria 8 years ago

      It’s a love-hate-love-hate relationship with writing.
      I can’t hack marrying rich, definitely not. Plus I’m not glamorous enough. I’ll stick with the day job.

  2. Sharon Creech 8 years ago

    Amen! I find it hardest to explain the need for ‘getting into the rhythm’ because that involves shhh, quiet, no interruptions, let me think, let me write, and let me write some more and walk and sleep and think and write, don’t make me go anywhere, don’t make me talk. . .

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Yup. I’m quite gregarious by nature, but need long periods of silence. Right now there’s an electric grinder at full tilt right outside my office window. But soon I’ll have a new roof….

  3. Caroline Coxon 8 years ago

    Is your horse quite well, Meg? I can’t help feeling that he’s looking a little arthritic today.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Isn’t that a fab picture, Caroline? I found it under ‘blinkers’ and it’s actually a Sindy doll pony from the 1970s. Heaven! Wish I’d had one….

    2. Zannah Kearns 8 years ago

      My sister still has her Sindy horse somewhere (she’s 34). Mine was a bay. Sigh. And totally agree on the misconceptions – particularly wanting to meet up for lunch, which everyone thinks is a perfect time to get hold of me as they are the only two hours in the day when my toddler is sleeping! Agh!

  4. Ray P Hewitt 8 years ago

    Wireman by day – writer by night… Meh!

  5. Rhubarb 8 years ago

    Yes to the fact that stopping work to go out to lunch means losing hard won momentum – so it doesn’t just cost the actual time I am away from the desk but much more.

    Now, it would be somewhat different if people were offering to bring lunch TO me… why does that never happen?

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