I’ve been asked to do a an online interview with Matt Curran to go up on the MNW blog in the week that Testament is published. Which is great, obviously!
But there’s one question I’m a bit stuck over.
What is your typical writing day?
It’s not that I don’t have writing days. Unlike some of my MNW colleagues (is that the right word for people you’ve never met but feel a kind of professional affinity with because you’re all at the same sort of stage of your writing life and are published by the same house?) who write in the evenings and snatched hours in days basically given over to bringing up the next generation, I have the luxury of four whole writing days a week. Having survived on evenings for most of a decade, then a blissful two days a week for years, this really is unimaginable luxury.
No, it’s how I describe the patchwork of activities which constitute an average writing day. I don’t have a word count I work towards, though I’m always happier when I’ve produced the magic thousand words (today I’ve knocked off 1,963) but how many words gets done is largely related to where I am in the book and whether I’m still having to plunge into pages of planning for the next chunk or do some research. These things slow the writing pace down, dontcha know.
Actually, while we’re on the subject of word count, one of the things I’ve noticed about having more writing days is that – weirdly - I’m less bothered about how many words I produce. When I only had two days in which to push back the literary frontiers (ahem) I was obsessed with getting the 1k done, as if I had to prove to myself that the book was progressing. Now, I’m more chilled, I’ve got more time to spend in my fictional world and I know things are moving on so I don’t have to prove it to myself.
I do basically sit at the kitchen table from 8am when the boys leave for school til 5ish when they get home. But there are various other things which can and do take place, some of which I will blog about tomorrow if I can get my act together in between work (as in the one day in five I actually earn a living rather than dream of royalties) and getting all of us plus sundry other teenagers to the boys' carol service in Canterbury cathedral in the evening.
How do other writers out there organise their time?