Friday, 11 May 2012

The ordinary writer

Yesterday I had a telephone interview with a journalist from national newspaper. The thrust of the article is supposed to be "how ordinary erotica writers are in contrast to their work."

Heck. Am I ordinary? I don't hold down a proper job like most people. I just slob around the house all day talking to myself. I don't have kids, unlike most people (including erotica writers. How the HELL they look after children and then find the time and energy and inspiration to write I have no idea). I'm not even sure I count as a real writer, because I sure as hell would starve to death on the street if Mr Ashbless didn't support me.

Real writers knock out 10,000 words a day, every day, apparently.
(Personally I once managed 5,000  . . . and that was by dint of being locked in a hotel room with nothing except Italian on the TV, and not getting out of bed except to pee.)

So by 5.15pm I'm hovering near the phone feeling like THE WHOLE WORLD IS TRYING TO FALL OUT OF MY ASS.

The phone goes. It's the photography desk at the Express. Just to let me know they're sending a hair-and-makeup woman along with the photographer on Sunday, "if that's okay with you." I tell them I don't usually wear makeup and it might not give a realistic impression. They say it's just to make me look more defined for the picture.

Well, okay.

The phone goes again. It's somebody I really need to talk to - but NOT RIGHT NOW! I make grovelling apologies and promise to phone back.

30 seconds later the reporter rings. She sounds nice, but then it's a journo's job to sound nice. I yak for 25 minutes. I probably sound like a total asshole.

I don't know how the article's going to look in the final version. It's completely out of my hands now. If they do makeup it won't even look like me . . . Which, to be honest, is probably for the best.

This chart below, btw, is the most horribly accurate answer to her question "What is your day like, as a writer?"


Nikki Magennis said...

Oh, I can't wait to read the article, Janine! I bet you were brilliant.

Who wants to be ordinary, anyway?

Jeremy Edwards said...

What Nikki said!!

I do think it's important for us not to draw too close a link in our minds between real-writerness and making a full-fledged living from writing income. In our field, some of us do, and some of us don't. (I don't.) And think of all the established "literary" writers who support themselves by teaching at universities, and the busy professional writers who rely on in-house editorial desk jobs for salaries.

Jo said...

ahaha, eccentric will sell more books, don't worry :)

Sadly, my chart is just the same as yours, but with extra bits for making shit dinners and trying to avoid entertaining my children...

Janine Ashbless said...

You guys make me happy ... and you're right - I should aim for "eccentric." It's way easier to pull off than "glamorous," say.

Jo: My personal chart should also include dog-time and watching Judge Judy :-)

Chris said...

The big question is which national newspaper.

I think it's great.

t'Sade said...

I actually did a presentation on time management for writing. Mainly on how to write a novel a year on 15 minutes a day. Mostly, it involves a lot of planning and a very short period of frantic writing.

But, I like how writers are completely different in how they write and what time they have.

Emerald said...

I love this post, Janine. I so hear you on so much of this. And that chart made me laugh out loud. :)

I too so look forward to seeing the article!! Congrats!

Craig Sorensen said...

Hear, hear to what the others said!

And for the record, give me a full day of quiet, uninterrupted time, and I could shoot 10,000 words out if I wanted to.

Well, unless they were gibberish. Matter of fact, maybe I have done that before...

I look forward to the interview. I bet it was great.

Janine Ashbless said...

I could do 10K a day if I included no description or world-building whatsoever, I suspect. Just action. But ... that wouldn't be erotica, would it? And it certainly wouldn't be what I want to write.

Anyway, the thing I keep coming back to is that I write what I want to write. Maybe not enough of it make me truly proud (and definitely not enough to make me rich), but it's me.

And if and when the newspaper article appears, I'll let everyone know!

Fulani said...

Good luck, and hope the article comes out well.

My chart doesn't have the binge eating segment, but that time is mainly taken up with finding random and obscure objects I apparently need (most recently a SATA to IDE hard drive adapter so I can access an old hard drive).

As to 10k words a day - I don't know anyone who does that. If I do 1500, I'm doing well; the most productive writer I know personally sometimes manages 3000 as a very rough draft that needs another day to polish.

Janine Ashbless said...

Oh, that makes me feel better, Fulani!

t'Sade said...

I have done a 10k day before. Actually, I think my peak is somewhere around 25k in a single day but there were a lot of factors involved. Mainly the Spawn was at grandmother's, Fluffy was in another state, and I had nothing to do but write. Having a touch typing speed of ~100 wpm doesn't hurt.

Now, that is just the day. The next one, I did nothing but stare at a TV set. :) The day after that was dedicated purely to navel observation before I got to writing again on the fourth day.

I don't personally know anyone who can sustain 10k/day writing though. I think the fastest sustained writing I've ever done was Derik's Luck and that was a 180k fantasy novel in 62 days (just under 3k/day for two months as a gratis serial, so very little editing).

Kat Black said...

How exciting, Janine. Hope you're getting all kitted up in your LARPing garb for the photo sesh. Reckon that'd give a fair indication of how 'ordinary' you are!

As for daily word count - mine is always grindingly low because I'm such a fusser and a picker (and currently running in minus figures as recovering from surgery. Frustrating)

Janine Ashbless said...

Just under 3K a day is glorious, t'Sade.

25K in a day?!!!!

Janine Ashbless said...

Kat, I too am a fusser. First thing I do when I open a file is read it all through, changing the odd word and comma here and there. It can take me hours to write my first new sentence :-)

No LARP gear for the photos, I'm afraid - not even The Hat! Yeah, I didn't mention the dressing up as a druid and running round hitting people in the article. Funny, that!

"Erotica authors - they're just ordinary people. Except when they're not, and they're even more peculiar than you thought, just not in a dirty way." Wouldn't sell!