A day in the life

The Qatar National Library writing group has been busy again!

This week, the course leader set us the task of writing a spoof of one of those “Day in the Life” columns which usually end up in Sunday newspapers. You know the sort of thing – celebrities treat us to a description of their breakfast smoothie, their work-out routines, their love of a chocolate which comes from a small Andean village and is made with beans which have passed through baboons…

Well here are the musings of an amateur but dedicated writer – and if you want to listen to it, go to: https://anchor.fm/fiona-forsyth

The first thing I do every morning as soon as I wake is to grab my special pen for writing down dreams and then I write down my dreams. I believe that, as a writer, my dreams are a kind of meta-life, and thus a veritable treasure trove of ideas.

Next I stand in front of the mirror and do my affirmations: “You are going to be published by Penguin. You will win the Booker prize. You will reveal to the world the true use of the semi-colon.” I find punctuation extraordinarily emotive. A well-placed exclamation mark can make me weep.

I feel that eating my “writer’s” breakfast is terribly important: I only eat meals which are described in the novels I am currently reading. It does limit me a little and I didn’t enjoy reading “Trainspotting” at all. But to get into the mind of a character one must know every detail, and for me character begins with breakfast.

After breakfast, the next stage of my preparation is to check Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, where I am currently following 8451 of my favorite authors. They are so dedicated in their relentless pursuit of their goal (appearing human and approachable so that people will like them and buy their books). I am currently researching the purchase of a pet: I have noticed that many writers post pictures of animals, claiming to own them. I am a little apprehensive about this as I don’t know when I will manage to find the time to feed an animal, and killing one through neglect may not look good on Twitter. I make copious notes of course, in my special Social Media notebook from Paperchase.

I grab a slice of toast (Jane Austen’s heroines all eat toast, I have noticed) for lunch and then finish up my trawl of social media. It leaves me feeling energized, my mind full of pictures and ideas to be manipulated into my next poem or short story. This is the point at which I open my laptop and start to research the various writer’s tools available online. I am drawing up a list of the ones I’m going to try with my special list-making pencil, which is one of the sleek silver ones from Muji.

I usually go around to my mother’s for my supper, and we spend the meal with me telling her about my latest progress. She is a wonderful person, my mother, and when I was six years old she was my first inspiration: I had torn a page of my library book, and I watched in admiration as my mother told the librarian that the book was like that when we borrowed it. In this one act of imaginative realism lies my origin as a creator. It reminds me that life itself is our richest source of material.

I let her make me a cup of tea after supper because I know how much she loves listening to my ideas, then it is time to head home and watch the television – “Line of Duty” is currently my go-to for convoluted plot lines and humorous catchwords. But as always I am jotting down things in my special Television notebook: a writer’s life is never restful!

I go to bed with a mind full of wonderful energy (usually of a greenish-yellow colour), knowing that even while I sleep I am maturing as a writer.

I do find it slightly irritating that once a week I have to go to my writers’ group, but I know that it is vital to listen to the concerns of ordinary people once in a while. After all, my books will be read by people just like them!

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