A Day in the Life
© John Clark 2012 – 910 words
Great intentions, all formulated the previous evening. Set the alarm for 5.35; can’t beat the pre-dawn for a spot of inspirational creativity, or even creative inspiration if it comes to that. Five thirty five. That’s the precise time that I have vowed and declared will be the very genesis of my new novel. It can’t fail. I have been assured so many times that I am a good writer, and I assume many positive implications from that accolade. So here comes the best-seller. Ten thousand copies at the very least. I just can’t wait to get my typing fingers on the royalties. Why, even my previous offering sold upwards of 70 copies, and that’s not counting the ones that were artfully gift-wrapped for the festive season. It is a tremendous advantage as a published author to have an abundant supply of relatives and the odd friend who appreciate my art. So what if J K Rowling and Enid Blyton have sold seventy million or some such number. What are a few extra noughts or a decimal point or two? My arrival in the world of literary giants is just a matter of time, starting today.
But never mind all that. Back to the creativity buzz of the 5.35 alarm. I have carefully planned what I am going to achieve this day. Establish a framework and identify the principal characters – you know the sort of thing – make them all loveable except for the villain of course. He will be the archetypical baddie, wearing a nasty thin pencil moustache and a cynical leer. After that I will be able to belt out a chapter or three. Oh, and once I have nutted out the basis of this very fine novel maybe I will devote some quality time to disposing of the royalties that will follow. A Caribbean cruise perhaps, or an apartment at Byron Bay. I hear that they welcome artists down that way.
Uh-oh. There goes the alarm. It can’t be half five already? I’ll just hit the snooze button for a couple more minutes. No, better still, cancel the 5,35 and I’ll just take another hour. A good writer needs his inspirational sleep, you know.
* * *
Uh-oh again, it’s quarter to ten already yet. Must have slept in. Maybe I’ll postpone the first couple of chapters. A man can’t work too late in the day if he wants to keep his productivity finely tuned, can he? I know what. I’ll take the dog for a walk around the lake. You never know, I might just meet the real-life inspiration for my villain. ‘Come on dog. Keep a sharp eye out.’
Yes, that was a good brisk walk. And I did see one who may qualify as my villain model. Shifty type, door-knocking for the Salvation Army or that type of thing. Very suspicious. Dog thought so too, didn’t you, dog?
Going on mid-day. It must be coffee time. Better put the perc on. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but all the best writers really spark on a shot of good caffeine. I just can’t wait to get into it again. Where was I? That’s right, the framework thing first or maybe I’ll just get straight in to my characters. The time frame thing can wait. A good writer can always compromise and work around it. Oh no! That’s bad news. I’m fresh out of coffee. Best pop down to Woollies and while I’m about it there might be a small diversion while I get some petrol as well. I don’t want to be caught short on the way to the publishers. Oh, and another small diversion while I look for my discount vouchers. After all, every little helps before the first million seller.
* * *
Right, now we’re all under control. So it’s a wee bit late in the afternoon but the sun is still shining – shining like a great gold billiard ball in the blue baize of the sky above. Hey, that’s not a bad metaphor, or is it a simile? I could use that somewhere. I’ll just scribble it down on a piece of paper. Must get a filing cabinet some time for all these pesky little pieces of paper. I don’t want to lose the plot, do I?
Right, now time to fire up the computer and really get stuck in to the serious business.
But what is this? The kids have put a new game just where I was going to start. “Self Destruct Automobile” or some such rubbish. Looking good, though. I bet I could race through this one and show the kids a thing or two. I’ll just run through the first four levels – shouldn’t take long and will sharpen the old literary brain. Take my word for it.
Well, a bit late now for the framework thingy, or for the first chapter come to think of it. Not the most productive day altogether, but, as we are all aware, we creative types need a bit of a fallow period here and there. I will get straight into it again tomorrow.
* * *
FOUR YEARS LATER
One of my fellow writers asked ‘How’s the novel going, young John?’
‘Just great. I’ve aced seven chapters now. Can’t wait to get it to the publisher. It’s that good, maybe one of their editors will finish it off for me. Look out Byron Bay, here I come.’