MY WRITING LIFE
By Sarah Morgan
A few weeks ago the school my son attends had a ‘take your child to work’ day. His father was working on a confidential project that didn’t allow the presence of a teenager, so I was the one with the responsibility for giving him a taste of a working life. Except that a writer’s working life doesn’t look the same way as most. My son thought he’d hit the jackpot and that a day spent with me would mean lounging around in his pajamas fiddling with a laptop (I’ve no idea where he got that impression).
I admit that to an observer what I do is fairly boring. There isn’t much to see. No feather boas, no lying in the sun dreaming (well, some of that but only when I’ve met a deadline), just long hours spent alone at a computer screen. Most of the excitement is in my head. Writing requires buckets of self-motivation and the willingness to work hard day after day (and sometimes night after night) no matter what obstacles life throws in your path. I set myself a minimum daily word count because that works for me. I know that providing I stick to the word count I don’t have to worry about the deadline and I can then fit the intrusions of real life around the writing without panicking. In reality I tend to write during ‘office hours’ and then again late evening. I do whatever the book needs. If a book is going well I’m going to have more weekends off than if it’s a struggle.
Of course a writer’s life isn’t all about the writing and a book isn’t produced in solitary confinement. It’s a team effort. And the work doesn’t stop with the book. Writers have to balance writing with promotion, as my son discovered when he spent the day with me. He mailed out copies of my new release, Suddenly Last Summer, helped with research and used his computer skills to update my website. By the time the day ended I was starting to wish he worked for me full time (and he made great coffee!).
Writing may be a slightly unusual way to make a living, but to me it’s the best job in the world.