This will give you a good idea of how I spend my working week. Not included here are my evening meetings, emails, social networking and which gigs are paid (answer, as in all creative trades, very few of them).
Monday: Write ‘Invisible Ink’ column for following Sunday publication. Read and review two books for Financial Times. Work on outline for new novel – a ghost story – and map out a couple of outstanding short stories commissioned for anthologies. Revised cover for ‘Invisible Ink’ book arrived – love it.
Tuesday: Revise Hammer radio play and send off. Send off finished script for my segment of portmanteau film ‘Bloody London’. Continue on book outline. Scrap short story that wasn’t working, write it over. Do interviews for online magazines. Article delivered for magazine is now too long – reduce by half without destroying content.
Wednesday: Waiting to hear if three new books have been approved by publishers’ acquisitions for next year. Don’t hear anything; is that good or bad news? Final script check for revised play ‘Falling Stars’, heading towards a backers’ rehearsal on Friday.
It appears my leading lady’s script is different to everyone else’s – did I tamper with her lines again or did she take the wrong copy? Try to amend accordingly. Read ghost story at author’s club.
Thursday: Still no news from acquisitions. ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’ will now miss the Christmas market because the printers have missing their shipping deadline. New January date decided. Finish first draft of new book outline. Get notes back from Tom Shankland, director of my movie segment for ‘Bloody London’ – they’re good but far-reaching. Still revising leading lady’s play script with phone under ear as I cook prawn linguini. Spend evening doing accounts. FT editor emails to ask for a seven-book round-up of the best of winter crime.
Friday: Write the FT reviews. Start second pass at new book outline, which is now taking off nicely. Hard to concentrate on this when three other books are awaiting approval. Start rewriting movie segment, urgently needed. Finish short story. Finish book outline. Try to find people to attend backers’ rehearsal of play. Now story commission in, wanted fast. Can’t come up with idea. Need a new story to read aloud tomorrow night at The Green Man reading group night. Do some tai chi to ease tendon cramp brought on from sitting hunched over screen all week.
Looks like the week will run well into the weekend…
This is a very typical week. On Friday a local shopkeeper says to me; ‘A writer, eh? That’s a nice hobby.’
I explain it’s not a hobby but my career. He gives me a look that tells me he doesn’t consider this a career. ‘Well,’ he ends lamely, ‘lucky you, not having to go to work.’
I nearly stab him.