8.56 a.m. I am sat on my sofa buzzing with excitement.
Keith, my boyfriend, has arranged for a young writer to come and spend the day with me. She is called Hannah and wants to be a writer. So, as part of her school work experience project, I am going to show her what it’s like to be a successful writer.
The idea of an eager young writer shadowing me and lapping up my writing advice makes me feel lightheaded. I am like the local J.K. Rowling.
Hannah is the teenage daughter of Keith’s friend from the pub and darts team partner nicknamed One-eyed Bob. A darts match didn’t go to plan some years ago and that’s how he got his nickname and his eye-patch.
Keith and One-eyed Bob have never won a darts match. So you can imagine my surprise when the phone rang the other night, whilst Keith was at his weekly darts match.
He was not calling me to tell me they had won their first darts match in six years. Keith wanted to see whether there was any chance I could fit Hannah into my busy writing schedule. I screeched “YESSSSS!” so loud that Keith has been complaining of ear ache ever since.
There is a knock at the door which makes me squeal. My writing apprentice is here.
I quickly check myself in the mirror. Today I have made an effort with my clothes. I want to show this young writer that I am very creative, so I have opted for:
- A loud, vibrant and colourful neck scarf
- Tweed jacket & tweed skirt (every established writer wears tweed)
- A pair of pretty ballet pumps because I like being girlie.
I am so happy at the prospect of having someone to teach I practically float into the hall to open the door.
In front of me stands a sullen and gloomy looking teenage girl with long greasy hair, a faded denim jacket and ripped jeans.
“You must be Hannah!” I say excitedly, gesturing her inside.
“Ugh!” groans the girl and walks past me.
We sit in the lounge and I run through some writer housekeeping rules:
- All ideas, no matter how silly, are welcome here!
- Smiles are a must!
- There is no planned fire alarm.
- Don’t go near Margaret the cat.
Hannah rolls her eyes at me and takes out her phone.
9.07 a.m. “It is a bit early for a coffee break?” remarks Hannah as I swan in with a tray full of tea and biscuits.
“I find regular breaks keep my sugar levels up!” I say ripping open a pack of biscuits.
10.04 a.m. “Aren’t you supposed to be writing?” asks Hannah.
“Just having a quick look at my social media Hannah, it’s very important for a writer like me to have their finger on the online literary pulse!”
“You’ve had your finger on it since your tea break ended!” remarks Hannah, checking her phone.
“I have to check all forms of social media” I say diving into Pinterest.
10.34 a.m. “Can I follow you on Twitter?” asks Hannah.
I squeal with excitement at the thought of my apprentice tweeting me stuff like ‘thanks for teaching me everything you know #bestwriterever’
I give Hannah my Twitter name and she taps it into her phone.
11.00 a.m. I am just lecturing Hannah on the importance of book titles.
“You don’t want to give too much away with a title” I gush, whilst placing a pencil behind my ear and giving her my best intelligent writer look. “You want to tease the reader!”
“What was the title of your last book?” asks Hannah.
“It was a political thriller series called Intrigue at Number 10 Downing Street” I say proudly. Hannah raises her eyebrows at me.
“Very complex thriller” I say quickly. “Such a shame the cover let it down!”
12.07 p.m. “Do you have an agent?” asks Hannah.
I shake my head whilst trying to swallow a large mouthful of tuna mayo baguette.
“I manage all this myself!” I say, accidentally spraying my scarf with bits of tuna and pointing to my empty writing desk. “Can you tell?”
Hannah nods and looks away.
1.45 p.m. “Ok let’s check my book sale stats!” I say cheerfully.
“Can I have a look?” asks Hannah.
“You don’t want to bother yourself with detail” I say seeing that no one, other than Keith, his mother and my mother, has purchased Intrigue at No 10 Downing Street.
“How do you feel when someone buys your book?” asks Hannah.
I take a sharp intake of breath. “Good question!” I say, whilst trying to think about how I felt when Keith purchased my book.
“It is amazing!” I gush, thinking back to that romantic moment when he bought it. He claims he was under pressure to purchase it which is rubbish. Apparently I had threatened to give his dinner to Margaret the cat if he didn’t buy it.
“Have you had any reviews?” asks Hannah.
“Yes!” I gush, recalling standing over Keith whilst he typed ‘unforgettable!’ into the review box.
2.34 p.m. “ANOTHER tea break?” exclaims Hannah as I swan in with my fourth tray of the day.
3.20 p.m. “Have you written anything today?” asks Hannah as I sit and stare out of the window.
“Today has been a thinking day!” I murmur, watching the neighbour tend to her window flower boxes.
“I bet you get a lot of those” says Hannah.
4.09 p.m. Hannah is going home.
I am tired and overdue a nap.
“So do you still want to be a writer?” I ask Hannah as she stands on the doorstep.
Hannah rolls her eyes and walks off.