Busy Busy Busy (Part 2)

Well, this week has been – what’s the word? – ah yes: ‘busy’. My non-writing work is starting to overflow into my spare time, which is already full with writing and martketing-related business. The major part of this non-writing work centres on my teaching fellowship. Not only do I seem sit on every bloody committee associated with the University of Exeter (I don’t do anything on these committees, you understand, unless you count dribbling) but I don’t have enough time during the day to prepare my teaching.

What does this mean? Well, rather than turn up at a class with nothing prepared but a shrug, a one-liner about teaching load and a promise to let the students go early, this means that weekends will now become even more frantic with work. I understood this was going to happen, and have prepared for it, but I will reach the shore of our Easter break with the joyous whoops of a drowning man. Teaching staff don’t get days off during out-of-term time – and I don’t write fiction on the department’s ticket – but the pressure should ease somewhat; days should end with a leisurely stroll across the keyboard rather than a sprint finish.

“But, Ian, what has this tedious biographical stuff got to do with anything?”

Well, one of the difficulties of writing a novel is that the pay-off is years away. The days spent building that wobbly tower of words are dark days indeed; what if it all crashes down? You probably won’t know until you’re near the end. That’s why the occasional bit of feedback can make all the difference. This week, I heard that my short story ‘Jubilee’ – one of my favourites – has been accepted for publication by a magazine called Aesthetica. This magazine does some good work (workshops, etc.) and I’ve read a goodly number of outstanding fictional pieces in its pages. The acceptance came completely out of the blue.

So this is just a little pat on the back, a little whistle for my dolphin ears, the click of a toy cricket signalling a chocolate drop is on the way. The rest of the weekend isn’t looking so bad after all.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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