It’s a winter morning here in Australia, still dark and there’s no-one else is awake. My time. Warm dressing gown on, fluffy slippers (don’t you love Mothers’ Day gifts?) and I’m up. Out to the family room where I have my computer.
I know, I know, I should move back to the spare bedroom, away from all distractions. But that’s on the cold side of the house, looking at our side fence. Not inspiring. Anyway, I mainly write when no one else is around, or take the laptop to another room if I need peace and quiet. Besides, the family room has the best view, out across the pool to the tall eucalypts. I can see part of the garden and the bird feeder where lots of parrots come to visit.
Computer on, kettle boiling for a hot cuppa. Our beagle is scratching at the door. She loves to come in and curl up on her bed by the computer and go straight to sleep again.
A quick download of the emails and before you know it I’ve spent my quiet time answering mails and checking out websites. So much for an early start on my pages!
There’s a flurry of activity as the family gets ready for work and school. Bliss – I don’t have to dress for the office today, I’m on vacation. Isn’t it great being a writer and not worrying about a dress code? There’s the usual routine: breakfasts, finding lost articles of clothing, conjuring money for school activities, hosing down squabbles over who’s spending too long in the bathroom… By the time they’ve gone there are clothes in the washing machine, I’ve tidied the kitchen and head for the shower.
Back to the computer. I always read through the beginning of the latest scene or the end of the last chapter. It takes time but it helps me back into the flow of the story. I do a little editing but soon I’m starting fresh stuff and it’s flowing quite well. I like this scene as it’s a high stakes one. Both heroine and hero have a lot to lose and they feel passionately about their predicament. Plenty of dialogue and they’re nicely at odds. Yes! If only it could all be like that.
A quick break to make coffee, hang out the washing and do a few chores. The writing is slower now. I’ve got to the transition scene – just a few pages to cover some important stuff, but it’s not as absorbing as the scene I just finished. I’m back to ‘teeth-pulling’ mode.
I save what I’ve done then race out the door, after jotting down a stray thought about a possible point of view change. It’s a fifteen minute drive to where I’m meeting my parents for lunch. We’ve got a view of the lake from the huge windows where we sit and catch up on the latest news. Nice food (always nice when someone else prepares it!) and very relaxing. The tiny local art gallery is in the same complex so we wander in and take a look.
Back home via the library, the post office (why does postage cost so much?) and the supermarket. Pass the gym and plan an early visit tomorrow. Pack away the groceries and back to the manuscript. I’ve sorted out that point of view question as I drove round the lake. Funny how looking at a nice scene (in this case yachts racing in the sunshine) can help me think more clearly. I make it to the end of the transition scene – slow going but I’m so glad it’s done. I start the new one, a clash between hero and heroine and I’m just getting into the swing of things when the world (ie. my teenagers) arrive. I struggle through the rest of the page, answering the inevitable ‘what is there to eat?’ then note down ideas of where the dialogue will go next.
No writing now. There’s news to catch up on and homework questions to answer so I log off and play Mum. Manage to do a little gardening (who invented weeds?), finally remember the washing and cook some muffins (they’re quick and tasty and I get brownie points with the family for playing domestic goddess occasionally). Do the taxi run to a late appointment and music lessons and home again to cook a late dinner and listen to the news. I ponder the mysteries of life. How much food would it take to fill a teenage boy completely? Where has that new school sweater gone? What’s the best way to invest $500,000? (Not that I’ll ever have to worry about it, but commerce projects have to be done!). Most important: how is this next scene going to end?
I sneak to the computer to jot down a line of dialogue that came to me while I was cooking. Typical – it’s when I stop writing to do something else that inspiration strikes! A minute turns into an hour as it always does when I actually know what I want to get down. Finally log off after answering a few emails. Time now for some TV and a book. The book is a good one – the best of all treats. I go to sleep wishing I could write as well as that.
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