Thursday 5 May 2011

A Day in the Life

This describes the day of someone who is paid to be a writer, has over fifty publications in print, and earns a little directly from her writing.
8.05 – Wander round the corner to vote.
8.50 – Arrive at the office. It takes about ten minutes for my computer to boot up – it has to connect to an intranet and its insisting on installing new downloads. Ah! It’s supposed to do that before it switches off at night. It takes ages to open Firefox. But at last it does. As usual, I start my day by looking at Twitter. I go back no more than an hour, though. Or I’ll never start writing.
9.10 Start writing. This actually. But I’ll be spending most of my writing time today on The Tower. Reluctant to start as usual, but I know I must. I also know I will be able to and it will be okay.
9.55 I finish one of the extra chapters for The Tower. Reward myself with a little look at Twitter. Much discussion of how people have voted.
10.00 Continue writing until 10.23. I work on the chapter after the new one. It now needs altering and I also realise I need to alter the one before the new one.
10.43 The other chapter did not in fact need any altering. So. I’ll make ginger and lemon tea to celebrate.
11.27 Finished working on The Tower for the day. I’ve completed one new chapter, edited another and planned a third. I’ve written 895 words in total. I’ve also just chatted to one of our support staff about some Erasmus exchange applicants. Next job: deal with work emails.
12.45 Finished going through work emails AND ate lunch. Nothing too controversial. I’ve had to rearrange a meeting with one of our exchange partners and I’ve had to help a student find PMC _ Personal Mitigating Circumstances forms. Much discussion of timing and conduct of PMC committee that meets next week.
13.35 I’ve spent most of the last hour chasing up students who have not submitted work. The bad news is there are nine students missing work. The good news is that there is a logical explanation in all but one case. It takes time, though, to check that you have got all the facts right. I only had to contact two in the end. Phone calls failed, so I contacted them via email.
15.30 I’ve just spent two hours on admin. This has included throwing away a lot of paper. I’ve also spent a further hour trying to process paperwork from a trip abroad – complex travel expenses and a report about the trip.
16.30 Set off for John Rylands library on Deansgate, Manchester, to hear Sherry Ashworth talk about her research on Enriqueta Rylands, founder of library. Sherry and I are like twins – bot the same age, both teaching creative writing at university – she at MMU, me at Salford, both have two children, one of whom married two years ago, she lives in Whitefield, I live in Radcliffe, she is Jewish, I’m married to a Jew, we are both novelists, we have both had our hair cut short recently and for gawd’s sake, we were both wearing the same earrings tonight. And I can see a lot of connections between what I’ll be doing on my sabbatical and what she is doing now. We’ll both indulge a little in using fiction to unpick fact. The talk was very interesting.
19.45 Home and time for a few domestic tasks. I decide to eat later.
20.10 Back at my computer. More looking at Twitter and more checking personal emails from six different accounts. All connected with writing, though.
21.00 Chill out time. A bite to eat and comforting rubbish on TV. I’ll probably read a little of a book I have to review before I go to sleep.
What a day!

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