This Is Your (Writing) Life

Clarice Lipspector

Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector circa 1950

I don’t know about you, but I always imagined the life of a writer to involve smoking Gauloises, drinking wine, and looking like the cone-breasted, immaculately-coiffed Clarice Lispector above. Oh, and churning out a few thousand words before breakfast.

While I still hold dearly to the vision of this existence, alas, my reality is far it. (Apart from the wine, of course – the contents of my recycling bin would make Bukowski blush.)

Most of my literary life is spent thus:

a) Thinking about writing

b) Looking for opportunities to sustain my writing

c) Thinking some more about writing

d) Checking terms and conditions on grant forms

e) Submitting grant forms

f) Waiting for a reply to grant form

g) Checking outbox to see if grant form has definitely sent

h) Tapping some words into a document

i) Deleting the words immediately

j) Idly watching pigeons

k) Reading a book I wish I’d written

l) Screaming into a dark hole of existential despair.

Occasionally, something from within the dark hole responds.

This time, the response came so long after I’d submitted the grant form I had forgotten I’d submitted it in the first place. But it was worth the wait.

It was a cheque from The Society of Authors to develop a piece of research I have been working on for Durham Book Festival. With it, notification that I had been elected to Membership of their hallowed institution (plus a cool widget for my website – yay!)

All this to say that writing is hard work – and that’s if you even make it to putting pen to paper. But don’t give up. I’m just off to buy my conical bra…