Tuesday 3 May 2011

My Writerly Routine/Once More With Feeling

My Writerly Routine

My working days tend to take a fairly regular pattern. I get up early, walk the dog, and aim to be sitting at my desk for eight am. Then I do my journalistic work which, on a good day with no procrastination, I can do in under two hours. Then I do some household chores and set myself up for an afternoon of writing. My husband works is out of the house for around twelve hours, and often times the only people I meet are dog walkers, the postman and the biweekly Tesco delivery man. In some ways it's a hermetic existence, well as hermetic as you can get when you live in a suburb of a capital city. My routine (and even the fact that I call it a 'routine') makes me sound all hard-working and diligent, but just because I'm at my desk in person does not mean that I'm working. I would not like to see a tot up of the hours that I waste fawning over fora.

I write in the kitchen, with my French doors open onto our lovely garden. We have an office in the front of the house, but it doesn't get the sun and can be dark and gloomy. In the kitchen I can see the sun filled garden and listen to birdsong which is all very inspirational. In short, I love my routine and didn't realise how much until I found out that my husband and I have an appointment tomorrow morning in our house. This will mess up my system. If I don't get a certain amount of work done in the morning, my day is practically a write-off. I find it hard to get into the groove again. I've been this way as far back as I can remember. This may make some of you worry that I have some form OCD, but trust me, fifteen seconds in my less than immaculate home would set you straight.

Once More, With Feeling

So, this is it for Storms in Teacups. I've set my submission date for Wednesday June 1, the day when I sent out my sample chapters, synopsis and cover letter out to agents across the British Isles. I have a month of hard editing to do, and then I'm done. Now, I love my book. I think it's good, and there's parts of it that still make me smile even though I've read it around a dozen times. The problem is, this edit is making me crazy. Maybe because it's the last one, maybe because I've edited it countless times before, but I'm starting to lose the will to live. Not to mention the fact that I have The Fear. On previous edits I haven't worried to much over whether or not my corrections are the best they can be, because if they don't work then I can always pick it up in subsequent edits can't I? Ah, no. Not any more.

My husband must know I'm under strain, as he bought me this Fry's Chocolate Cream (well, not this exact one) completely unprompted. Yummy and scrummy and completely dairy free. He's a man in a million.


  1. I used to have a really strong routine... and I seem to have lost it in the last few years... along with the writing it produced - interesting!

    Good for you for setting yourself a deadline - all i'd say, is don't let the fear cause you to micro-edit to the point that you write the life out of your story... I've seen that happen so many times - trust that the work you have done is good and trust your instincts on it!
    Good luck!

  2. Hi Christine!!! I hope tomorrow isn't too much of a write off for you! I like routines too but since I lost Mom I haven't had much of one. I teach, I write, I read, I watch TV, I even sometimes hit the housework, but not as scheduled as I used to. I am trying to get back into the groove but I still feel like I am walking in mud all the time.

    Also, because of Fibro, I can't play piano like I used too, same with Clarinet, I just don't have the air for that instrument anymore. It comes down to either I play for myself or I play for the students and the students win. At least I can still teach. That would be the end of me if I couldn't.

  3. I know what you mean about a routine. Frankly, I wish I had one! My work schedule is always up in the air so I don't even have a semblance of a routine. It is so hard to get into a productive groove when you only have short periods of time to work with.

    Just tell The Fear to be quiet and leave you alone ;)

  4. My routine is all over the place at the moment. I have to get back into it.

    There's an award for you over on my blog. Come and pick it up!

  5. @Laura: It's so hard to edit logically without losing the heart of your story. It's all about balance I suppose.

    @Heather: I'm sorry you can't play as much as you'd like to. But instilling a love of music into others is a huge gift to give.

    @Caitlin: Will you tell The Fear to leave me alone? While I hide behind you?

    @Kate: Thank you so much for the award :)