'But what do you really do?' is up there with 'Do you write under your own name?' and 'I've never read any of your books' as one of the most common responses when I tell people who ask me what I do what I do.
What I did today is start work at 9 am by scribbling changes all over the print-out of a draft of a short piece about watching the first ever episode of Doctor Who, add the changes into the electronic version, reread it on screen and make a few more changes, and then email it off. That was the first hour accounted for. I won't get paid for it by the way, but for once I'm happy to violate the rule that money should always flow towards the author because the profits from the book (I hope) it'll appear in are going to charity.
After that, it was back to the first draft of the new novel. 1000 words before lunch, then a walk around my usual route - I live in Islington, one of the most built-up and populous parts of London, but manage to fit in three parks - and back in front of the computer for another 500 words. I like to write 1500 words, or about five pages each and every day until I have a complete draft. And then I start editing and rewriting, and rediting and rerewriting . . .
Sometimes it only takes an hour or two; sometimes it takes all day. And if it's going really slowly, I'll take a walk earlier, to think about writing while thinking about something else. Today, I finished at around 3.30, and then started to read through an old story someone wants to republish; so far, it hasn't needed much in the way of titivation. And now, at just after 5 pm, I'm writing this.
So that's mostly what I really do. I write. Although today was a bit out of the ordinary, because ten copies of my new collection of short stories, A Very British History
, were delivered. Here are three of them: