Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another day in the life of a writer

Yesterday was the day from hell! I had received an email from my agent requesting three hardback copies of my latest book, Bonded Heart (scramble to find padded envelope large enough to hold all three, then realise I've run out of pre-printed labels. Print sheet of labels, and pack books.) She also wanted two hard (paper) copies of my pitch package for Devil's Dance, the book I shall write after the current work-in-progress is finished, plus an electronic copy of the package as a single Word document. The package consists of a 5-page prologue, two chapters plus an 11-page outline of rest of story. And would I also include a copy of the press release and photo featuring Bonded Heart printed in this week's local papers.

I was about to leave home for the post office when my 94-year-old father rang, could I pick up some dog food, and would I please type out a speech he plans to give at the monthly Dunkirk Veteran's lunch that day. (How could I refuse?) Picked up dog food, posted parcel, then on way back got waylaid by old lady who was feeling shaky and needed a steadying arm to get her back home (next to the papershop and on my way) Took dog food to Dad, collected speech and promised to have it back within the hour. Arrived home, made quick cup of tea, typed and printed out speech in large bold easy-to-read font and took it round to delighted father. Walked briskly home, trying to convince myself that this additional fresh air and exercise were excellent stress-busters. (Not convinced) While I was trying to amalgamate the separate files of DD prologue, chapters and outline into one electronic Word document, there was a loud thud. A bird had hit the window. I've already put celtic stickers on the glass to warn them. What more do they want, signs? When I looked out I saw one of my bullfinches huddled, panting and looking decidedly dazed. Bullfinches are usually very shy and quite rare. We have three pairs who are regular visitors to our bird table, and I've known them all since they were eggs. Left him to recover and went back to computer. Writer friend had given me detailed instructions on how to amalgamate separate files which I followed. But each time I inserted a page break then tried to insert the next file, the old header remained. If I changed it manually for the following doc, it also changed the one behind. My computer nearly ended up in the field next door! In the end, with all the files saved in order and as a single document, I went back to the beginning and inserted an entirely new header just giving the books initials, my initials and sequential page numbers. That worked, so I hit send. By now it was after 4pm, I'd lost my planned afternoon on the current wip and I had the beginnings of a headache. I checked the bullfinch who was taking a few tottering steps and trying to look as if he'd just landed for a rest, and made another cup of tea. It was too late to start my planned work on the current book. So I tackled a mountain of ironing, made an apple crumble and a tray of apricot, ginger and walnut flapjacks, and felt virtuous if still frustrated. Still, as Scarlett said "Tomorrow is another day". It can only be better.
Jane Jackson.
Bonded Heart pub. Severn House. £18.99 UK $27.95 USA


Jan Jones said...

Oh, Jane, what a day!

BUT - you completed at least some of what you'd intended and pleased a lot of people.

And had flapjacks to eat at the end of it.

kate tremayne said...

What a star you are Jane. May all your good deeds and the work you sent off to your agent bring you an abundance of extra sales. Perhaps the bullfinch was there to show you that everything is not always as chaotic as it seems. You should be proud of such a productive day.

Anonymous said...

Jane said...
Thank you both for the support. After getting a birthday message for husband read out on local radio yesterday, (his 60th) and being taken out for lunch by daughter and husband followed by a walk along cliffs at St Just in severe gale - not for the fainthearted! - I feel far less harassed. Hope to get a few hours on the wip today.