‘What does your writing day look like?’ I am sometimes asked; a question that prickles me with anxiety as I ponder the sporadic hours I write, or don’t write, as the case may be.
I don’t have a dedicated writing room – although I dearly want one – so I have a desk in the lounge overlooking the front garden that I mainly use. When the TV is on, I put my headphones on and listen to a wide range of music – Irish music is currently my preferred choice. Sometimes I just wear the headphones to block out the general humming of life that is spoiling my concentration. If the weather is clement, I may choose to work in the garden.
I don’t have specific hours of the day dedicated to writing; I tend to work around family life and when the urge takes me. For example, my husband is working a night shift tonight, so I will take the opportunity to work to the early hours of the morning, for as long as my eyes stay open and my brain remains alert. It doesn’t matter if I delete much of the work the next day – at least I’ll have something to work on and I will have moved the story forward. Sometimes I get up an hour or two before my husband does, and work in the early hours listening to the melodic song of the blackbirds in the garden.
I don’t set myself a word count, as I don’t like to pressure myself. Some days I’m quite verbose, and other days the words barely flow. Such is life, and I don’t punish myself, as so far, I’ve had seven novels published, so I know I get there eventually! Once I’m in the flow, I don’t like to be disturbed, hence I try writing when the house is empty, although my husband is beginning to get the hang of things when he’s around!
I wondered if I didn’t sound like a serious writer, until I read an article asking Kei Miller the exact same question (The Guardian, 2nd July 2016). He admitted to there being too many distractions – none of them notable – such as American TV shows and the entirety of the internet. How his words spoke to me!
This is why I have taken to handwriting my novels again – I did this for my first two novels – instead of typing them straight onto the laptop. This way I’m removed from the temptation of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, emails, etc. It does mean, however, that I am slower at responding to Tweets and FB posts than I usually am, but it also means that the WIP progresses faster.
As you may know, I eat jelly beans, jelly babies, dried mango, and popcorn whilst I write. What I haven’t mentioned before is that I have a large toy dog that sits across my lap, called Daphne. She keeps me company, especially when we’re not boarding a Guide Dog in training.
Happy Word Flow One & All