Walk into any bookstore or library and you are walking into a multitude of worlds; worlds created in the mind of a writer or author. The books you see are the result of hundreds of hours of angst, perspiration, joy, anger, tears, frustration and relief. Relief? Yes, relief that finally all those ideas spinning around in your head have wormed their way from your brain to the paper, in what you hope is a meaningful order.
Have you ever wondered how those words got there? I have created a snapshot of a typical weekend in the life of an author, (an author who has a day job,) so you can see how all those random thoughts are processed to create the wondrous work you see on the bookshelves.
10:00pm Decide on an early night to tackle a full day writing tomorrow, starting at 8am.
11:59pm Stop looking at silly cat videos on YouTube.
01:00am Think of a marvellous plot twist as you are finally dropping off to sleep, one so brilliant you are certain to remember it in the morning.
05:00am Wake up at your normal weekday time. Find a cat pawing you in the face looking to be fed (cats do not understand weekends and neither does your body clock.)
05:10am Get up. Trip over the other cat lurking at the foot of the bed (cats work in pairs to trap humans; even cats who hate each other do this. It’s a basic instinct.) Feed the cats to keep them quiet.
05:15am Go back to bed for a further half-hour sleep.
09:30am Wake up and realise your day is off to a late start.
09:40am Decide you should have a full English breakfast before getting to work. Spend the next ten minutes debating with your wife whether to cook or to go to a café.
09:50am Having decided on the latter, start writing a shopping list to kill two birds with one stone. No sense in going out and not doing the shopping at the same time.
09:51am Remember you had a brilliant idea for a plot twist the previous night. Fail to remember what it was. Resolve to buy another notebook to put at the side of the bed, along with a pen (the previous twenty-three notebooks and pens appear to have been taken by aliens. What they are going to do with all those notebooks and pens, you have no idea, but the germ of an idea for a sci-fi novel pops into your head.)
09:55am Complete shopping list, failing to add notebook and pen as you have been distracted by the sci-fi book plot.
10:00am Leave the house resolving to be back by midday.
02:15pm Arrive back with the shopping.
02:30pm Having packed the shopping away, decide to have a cup of tea before getting to work on the next chapter.
04:00pm Stop looking at Facebook and open your writing program.
05:00pm Having written six words, which do not quite convey what you have in your mind. Decide to cook the evening meal.
05:01pm Open a bottle of wine while you and your wife decide on what to cook.
05:20pm Order a take-away as you don’t fancy any of the food you bought that morning.
05:25pm Have another glass of wine while you wait for the take-away to be delivered. Pointless to start writing now, only to be interrupted by the delivery driver.
07:00pm Get back to work on the next chapter, glass of wine in hand.
07:05pm Open another bottle of wine because the first one seems to be empty. Squint at the old bottle to see if it is cracked anywhere and has been leaking.
07:20pm Look at the thirty-seven new words you have written and try to think of a better way it could be worded.
07:25pm Start researching on the internet for a suitable location for your two main characters to have a meeting.
09:35pm Stop looking at silly cat videos on YouTube and resolve to finish this chapter before bed.
11:55pm Wake up with a stiff neck because you have been slumped on your desk for the last two hours.
12:01am Go to bed.
This is likely to be repeated the next day, shopping included as many items were missed off the list the first time around while you considered the sci-fi plot.
So, next time you complain the sequel to your favourite novel is taking too long to appear, give the author a break, you now know why.