Anna Cleary :: Day in the Life
. Wake to ABC FM, drowse. Stir myself to set cat free from his room (the laundry). Half listen to music while story drifts in my head.
. Take a brisk walk to burn a few cals, thinking of story while enjoying people’s gardens, birds and fresh morning air. (Unless it’s summer, when it all must start hours earlier or it’s too hot to even crawl).
8. Shower, breakfast, chat to family, put on washing, household chores while thinking of story.
9. Procrastinate. Read emails, read the cartoons in various online newspapers around the country. Start coffee. Start the music—Ravel and Debussy work for me.
When the moment is ripe, start on story.
Usually it take me many days to build all the layers into a chapter, so how much progress I make pagewise depends on what stage the chapter is at. I might write a few pages in a day, but the next few days will be building and refining those pages, and reshaping previous chapters to fit in with them. I’m a pantser, so how the story will pan out I’m never quite sure, although I almost know what will happen at the end, and have a vague shape in mind of how I will get it there.
Somehow though, I feel confident that some mysterious section of my brain knows right from the start how the story will go, even if I can’t see it clearly. My task becomes to unearth the hidden pathway. The worst times for me are when that mysterious brain section isn’t forthcoming. That can happen if I have interruptions, have to take days off, or some family or domestic crisis occurs.
Sometimes I make a stab at forcing the next step onto the page and get it wrong. When it’s wrong it feels so bad I’m as twitchy as a goose.
But when it’s right...
Oh, when it’s right it’s the most fantastic, glorious, exhilarated feeling in the world. It’s a formula one ride in the fast lane with a very bad man.
. Late lunch. Possibly keep writing till four or even later, but usually need to spring up and go for a walk, or shop, then rest my head for an hour while I drift into a dreamstate about the story.
6-10.30. Moan to anyone who’ll listen about having to cook dinner, then start the beastly task, glass of wine, eat, chat, watch TV or keep up with my reading.
Drift off, thinking about my story...