Monday, 30 August 2010

Preconception vs Reality

Today I lugged the latest print out of the novel to the nearest coffee pouring establishment to sit and read it in peace and quiet. Sadly the only place open was Sainsbury’s, so I sat in their franchise of Starbucks reading amongst screaming cupcake fuelled children. It wasn’t quite the scenario I had pictured when doing the final read-through, but that has been the way ever since I decided to write this book. Everything I thought I would do – write with a smile on my face every single day, actually have a desk, open champagne on finishing – hasn’t actually happened yet. Okay, let’s list it.

Preconception: All authors write from a book-lined room in peace and quiet.
Reality: I write between bursts of my mum telling me the plot of Midsummer Murders, including the repeats.

Preconception: All authors write every day.
Reality: Try it after a three hour commute sandwiching an eight hour day in the office. Some evenings I can only write the word ‘ug’.

Preconception: All authors have their own desk.
Reality: I think I told you before I use the ‘Twisted Author’ pose in which to sit on my bed and tap on the computer which rests upon a chest of drawers. This is as comfy as indigestion.

Preconception: All authors have a local homely café in which to edit their novels and think Great Thoughts.
Reality: The local cafés around my gaff smell of fried egg sarnies and attract people of a certain disposition, i.e. mad.

Preconception: All authors will write with an occasional wine glass close to hand, if they fancy it.
Reality: Vodka. Lots of. If I fancy it.

Preconception: All authors will own a printer that works.
Reality: My printer only works if I stare at it.

Preconception: It won’t take that long to write a novel.
Reality: Har har har har.

Preconception: Every day authors are really happy and eager to start writing.
Reality: Some days I cry.

Preconception: All authors are brilliant at Scrabble.
Reality: Faced with the board, the only word I can ever spell is ‘suds’.

48 comments:

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Ohmigod. I LOVE this post. I'm still laughing...and commiserating! I totally understand what you're saying. ('specially about the vodka) ;)

Jayne said...

Hee! Thanks Amy. Glad it gave you a giggle. :)

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Doesn't that just stink? I really think the reality needs to live up a little better to the preconception.

Catherine A. Winn said...

This is so hilarious, and so sad-- because it's so true!!!

Laura Eno said...

Hilarious and spot on!

Fran said...

Very funny! In a tragic, I-wish-it-weren't-true kind of way.

Old Kitty said...

OH it's the "all authors sit in cafes and write their masterpieces" I can't quite understand because most cafes won't let you sit in there long enough or most cafes are the noisiest places ever. LOL!!

Next is the printer. My printer CANNOT print more than 10 pages at a time. I have to pay work to use their printer (oh yes!! I don't get any freebies cos I work there! LOL).

Scrabble and vodka. That works a treat together!

GOOD LUCK!! With your final read-through - how exciting!!!

take care
x

ElegantSnobbery said...

Haha, LOVE this post!! I can DEFINITELY relate!

Dominique said...

Great post.
You're totally right about the misconceptions there are about writing.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles to write every day. Sometimes, I stare at screen of white "paper" and want to beat my head against a desk.
Thanks for sharing. :)

catwoods said...

This was the much needed dose of happiness in my day! I loved this.

Almost all realities are true--except I rock at Scrabble and don't drink much at all--wine or otherwise. Maybe that's why those two balance out?

Hugs and thanks so much for this great post.

Nicole MacDonald said...

I suck at scrabble and am allergic to alcohol so can't even drink! *sob* ;p

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Eliza said...

:-) Like it.

Robin said...

Awesome post. That is a song that I can sing along with because I actually know the words! It is funny how you start one way and finish a totally different way. Right now, I am having trouble writing "ug." That means I need to actually write something to get going again. I am miserably uninspired. Perhaps your blog post will help:-)

Angela M. said...

LOL, what I wouldn't give for a peaceful place to read and write (or at least one that doesn't freeze my buns off)!

Laura Marcella said...

LOL, love the last two! Some days I bang my head on the desk because it's less painful than writing, haha. Whenever we play Scrabble or Scattergories someone always says, "No fair, Laura has an advantage." I wish!!!

Awesome post!

A Certain book said...

... And we still love to write! Had a good giggle.

KarenG said...

At this moment my hubby is opening your package to me and reading the postcard. First he watched the video of you picking the prizes. And now he's thumbing through the books and reading excerpts to me. Thank you so much for your wonderful contest!

(And truly this post is hilarious.)

Carolyn V. said...

This is so perfect and so true! I write at my dining room table while the kids run around. I pictured this so much different. =)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, half of those are true for me, but not the really essential items.

The Words Crafter said...

This was hilarious, and completely spot on!!!!

Pat Tillett said...

Great post!
very interesting and REAL...

S J Watson said...

I'm struck by your point about it not taking that long to write a novel. I remember being told (by the brilliant Jacqui Lofthouse) that all of her books had felt like two pregnancies, in terms of both time and energy spent. 'Ha!' I thought. 'I'm 5 months in and nearly finished...'

Fastforward 15 months - only now am I (hopefully) almost done with the final final final edits of my book. (With copy-editing still to do!) When it comes out next year it will be just over two years since I started working on Before I Go to Sleep.

It does take a long time (and Jacqui was right....)

Steven

Alexandra Crocodile said...

That's terrible, but true enough. But you're done now - so be happy!

Jules said...

LOL, I loved the wine vs vodka. I type in an old wing backed chair with a concrete cushion, I understand :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

mise said...

You must ensure that your book-jacket photo features a bottle of vodka. Credit where credit is due.

Hart Johnson said...

Fabulous list, Jayne! I love some of your misconceptions. I think you definitely prove that a writer's best trait is perserverence.

Falen (Sarah) said...

ug. so true. One of the things i've always told myself i'll buy when i get a book deal is a super huge, fancy printer/copy machine. i would use it ALL THE TIME

Rachna Chhabria said...

Jayne..love the post. I will add two more points.
Preconception: All authors are rolling in money.
Reality: They should see our reactions when we receive our royalty checks.

Preconception: Writing is one of the easiest of career choices.
Reality: Its anything but easy.

Indigo said...

The worst preconception, the one I absolutely hate is: Writing's easy.

Oh really? If that were indeed the case everyone would be a best selling author.

I do have a desk, I'm rarely there. I prefer my 6ft long farmhouse table in the dining room. The view out the window to the woods, is to die for (and the biggest distraction EVER). (Hugs)Indigo

K.M. Weiland said...

I have yet to own a printer that doesn't hate me, and I seriously suck at Scrabble. Fun post!

Happy Frog and I said...

Great post. I am not a writer, but this gives me hope that one day I might be!

Giles Hash said...

Writing every day is hard. I tried it, and most of the time I accomplished it, but I often considered taking up drunkenness as a second career. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I KNEW Anthony Bourdain started his writing career while running a restaurant 50-70 (probably even 80) hours a week. He'd get home at 3 in the morning, sleep for a few hours, and then get up and write an hour or two before he had to get back to work. If a former coke-head could do it, I could at least try.

Talli Roland said...

I've never understood the whole Midsummer Murder thing. Maybe you can send your mum over here to explain it to me!

Love this post, Jayne!

Vatche said...

Writing is a hard occupation and is often thought by others to be "easy," but it truly isn't. You have to sit and think up things other people would never even dream about.

Writing everyday is difficult for me, too, but I try my best to get my words down as much as I can and I know you probably do too.

So, write on!

Kyna said...

You completely shattered my image of a 'real' writer. I have to go return that bottle of wine and my new Scrabble board now...:(

Barbara Scully said...

Brilliant post! I am going to print out your list of Preconceptions v Reality and stick it on my fridge! Brill

Madeleine said...

Loved the post. Made me laugh!
Very true too. Another preconception that the computer will always work when you boot it up. Mine takes 5 goes to log into the Internet some days! LOL!
Madeleine x

luminous muse said...

It won't take long...right! That's why I'm still working on my memoir after 6 1/4 years (I'll get it this year!)
My motto. via J. Lennon -"It's getting better all the time."

Amanda said...

jayne - this is brilliant and i empathize with it all!! great post♡♡

Maggie May said...

A really good post.
I think that you sound quite normal!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Carol Kilgore said...

Peace and Quiet? Is this a new comedy team? Singing Duo?

I write to Noise and Action.

Angie Ledbetter said...

SO enjoyed this post! Glad I stopped by from KarenG's BBQ. Following your social networks now. Have a great weekend. GumboWriter

Krista said...

This is hilarious. I am SO following you.
"Preconception: All authors will own a printer that works.
Reality: My printer only works if I stare at it."

I can relate.

Kittie Howard said...

OMG, Jayne, so happy I caught this post. You had me laughing. I could see you squinched up on bed, sitting among those cupcake fueled kids (love that description), and so on...actually, tho, you're such a cool writer I kinda figured the perception was real.

Hannah Kincade said...

Yeah, if only I had the brain capacity after a long day of work to write something worth a damn. I can't so no it doesn't happen as fast as it could if I had nothing else to do.

I may copy this and staple it to the forehead of everyone who assumes all of these things.

Mimi said...

well,if it's good enough for JK Rowling?
Maybe it's good karma, being amongst the people?

Kathryn Braithwaite said...

Really good read.I am sure with this sense of humour you will be successful.

Kathryn Braithwaite said...

I like the way you have done this.i find it stimulating.