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.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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