Getting Advice From Pro-Writers (FMH: 10)

20 Jan

I started the day well. Despite not wanting to go to the gym, I went. I rowed, I sat up, I lunged, I star-jumped, and then I cycled. And then I felt very pleased with myself that I was heading back home while most people were making their way to work.

This afternoon I had a Society of Authors Management Meeting. As our new building in Bloomsbury is being refurbished we’re “on tour” at the various offices of the top publishing houses in the country! Not bad eh?

Today’s meeting was at HarperCollins on the 17th floor of the News building (aka Murdoch Towers) in a big tall glass building that wasn’t The Shard.

Or this building.

Anyway, having found myself to the right building I was adorned with a rave party bracelet and accompanied in the lift. I understand. They don’t trust me.

I take too many random photos.

Anyway, I kept it super professional and didn’t take any photos of the phenomenal view until coffee break. Charlie Redmayne, CEO, gave a talk, and I have to say he was particularly charming.

Anyway, we did all the management conversations and various things you do at such meetings and then we headed off to the pub. I would like to say that’s my most favourite time of the day, but that’s probably not very professional. *cough*

Anyway, at said pub wine bar (we are professional after all, even if I am just pretending). I decided upon a professional topic of conversation with the professional writers I was lucky enough to be in the company of.

“So…,” I started (as I do many sentences) “I’m really struggling with my motivation and concentration when it comes to writing at the moment.”

They all looked at me and nodded, waiting for me to elaborate.

“And so I was just wondering…how often and how long do you write for?”

The answers came in turn: Every day, but weekends off. At least three hours, usually four, tops at five hours.

“Ah!” I reply, my face furrowing into an unwitting confession of sorts, “I appear to not be writing enough.”

“How often are you writing?” Came the alarmed response.

“Well, I try, but it’s hard, you see…”

“You have morning, don’t you? Mornings are the best time to write.” Asserted one professional and highly esteemed writer who’s sold a gazillion books.

“Well, the thing is…the tenants, the tenants have to be sorted first…”

He rolls his eyes at me and retorts with a sneer in his lip and a full-on-worried-shake of his shaggy eyebrows. “I had a tenant once. Urgh!” He screws his face tighter in disgust at the memory, “thank goodness that episode is over.”

Another novelist, some 45 books published and counting, butts in: “You must plan your day around writing.”

“Plan my day around writing?” I question, my voice raising querulously at the sheer audacity and lunacy of such an outrageous idea.

“Yes, of course!” They reply in unison, looking at me queerly as though I’m some sort of unrecognisable miniature curio found in the back of an antiques shop.

“How on earth would you ever get to write unless you do?” retorted the gazillion-selling, tenant-relieved pro.

How on earth indeed, I said to myself, and committed the conversation to memory.

Sounds like I need a better plan!

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