By Ingrid Boyd
So you think you want to be a writer? You are tired of the daily grind of the rush hour; you are done with customer service and PowerPoint presentations and yearn for a better, more creative job.
Initially this charmed lifestyle will mainly involve not having to change out of your pyjamas, but in the future you can easily imagine the interview with the Sunday Times in your gracious study full of books, your glasses hanging around your neck as you explain just why so many millions have connected with the characters in your novels.
You are not alone.
“Being a writer” is the most sought after profession of them all, coming top in some survey I read once, which I will look up later. In fact, you could probably Google it for yourself, and then maybe let me know? Thanks.
Everything about being a writer seems appealing, doesn’t it? From the comfy leisure wear, to the fact that people will actually be interested in what goes on in your brain, right down to the shed in the garden which you will have converted into a fully heated writing room complete with chaise longue for resting on while you allow your muse to do her thing.
Great. Now you know what you want. Only thing to do now is get started. Hold on, not so fast there Skippy.
If you really want to be a writer you can’t just get on with it. God no. It’s not that simple.
First of all, you can’t possible start in this house. It’s a complete mess. The bathroom hasn’t been cleaned since your Nan last visited. Was that really two months ago? She’ll be back again at Christmas. Actually, Christmas is coming up quite soon isn’t it, so before you get started on the bathroom perhaps you better check the fairy lights still work.
Remember last year, banging on the glass and flailing your arms at Wilkos at 5 pm on Christmas Eve, mouthing “a hundred coloured lights!” at the burly shop staff who wouldn’t let you in.
The lady police officer who gave you the cup of tea was lovely though.
OK, the bathroom is clean. Time to get on. Is it really that time already? No wonder you are so hungry. You will have to make a sandwich. Your brain just won’t function at all without fuel.
Might as well turn on Loose Women while you have your lunch. Ten minutes, tops, then you will switch it off. Why on earth is Denise wearing that PVC shell top? She looks like a bulldog chewing its way out of a bin bag.
Oops, watched the whole thing. Ok, focus. Focus.
What are you going to write on? It is a truth universally acknowledged that the questions all writers get asked by their public over and over are “where do you write” and “What do you write with” coming second only to where do you get your ideas?” (But I’ll get to that. At some point.)
Why does it matter? Well, probably because most of us have been writing in some form since around age 5, and so we feel that there must be some different, magic sort of writing that proper writers do, some ritual or tool we are not party to.
Better Google some of your favourite writers, just to get some tips about their way of working. Wow. They all say they get up at six am, walk the dog on the beach and then write longhand until lunch, before continuing until 4 pm.
Yes, yes, that sounds like the way to do it. Disciplined. Wait though, this best selling Chick Lit author says she writes in bed. Hmmm. Yes, that seems much more you, doesn’t it? Freer, more relaxed.
OK, got your laptop. Just prop some pillows…aahh. That’s nice. Close your eyes and let your mind open.
Wha..? Is it dark outside?? I know, you were only resting your eyes. It happens.
Well that was a waste of a day. You will have to start again tomorrow. Really early, just get up, no coffee, nothing, switch on the laptop and go.
Well, maybe coffee. No breakfast telly though. Except the news, obviously…
Ingrid is a native of Leeds and a graduate of the University of Westminster Film School, where she learned much about filmmaking; the most important lesson being never to admit a film crew into your house.
She has lived in Glasgow, London, Oxford and New York, and has worked (among other places)at Merchant Ivory Films, (doing the filing), in a diner, as a costume assistant on musicals, and in a department store, where she once sold a pair of socks to Bruce Springstein.
In 2007 Ingrid returned to Leeds to study writing at the University of Leeds, where she successfully wrote and directed a play, and began to compile an impressive portfolio of writing, from screenplays to short stories.
After graduating with merit in 2009, Ingrid began copywriting and blogging for a range of small businesses.