My day begins at 5.30am when my partner gets up for work. I stir briefly then fall back asleep, only to be woken again at 6.40am when my 3 year old son appears in the doorway of our bedroom and announces, “Sunshine is up, Mummy.” After years of 5am starts we’ve trained him to wait until the sunshine appears on his Groclock before he comes into our room. 6.40am is practically a lie in these days.
After milk for my son and coffee for me we get ready for the day then, at 8am, I take him to nursery (the scooter helps speed up the journey).
I return home by 8.30am and promptly stack the dishwasher, clean the kitchen floor and do all the washing. Actually that’s a lie. What I actually do is make another cup of coffee and sit in front of the TV. After the hustle and bustle of the morning routine I like to zone out in front of the TV for an hour and catch up on whatever I recorded the night before. Whilst I’m watching TV I do my bit on social media – I update Facebook and Twitter and, if I’ve got new book out, I obsessively check my ranking and reviews on Goodreads and Amazon (a terrible habit I really wish I could give up).
After about an hour I go into my study which is one third desk, one third treadmill and one third guest sofa bed. Until the beginning of this year I held down a day job and worked from home but now the study’s just for writing (and occasional guests). The level of messiness directly reflects what stage of a book I’m working on. My second psychological thriller, THE LIE, is due to be published on 23rd April so I’m busy promoting that as well as writing the first draft of THE FORGETTING, my new novel.
The Post-It notes decorating the sides of the laptop are all the promotional articles, blog posts and short stories I need to write to promote THE LIE and the ones on the wall behind it are plot points and character notes for the new novel. I also have several notebooks and reference books to do with the new novel stacked up on the floor beside the desk.
I begin by attacking the new novel. My deadline for handing in a completed first draft of approximately 100,000 words is 20th July so, as I only write four days a week (I spend Fridays hanging out with my son), I need to write a minimum of 1,500 words a day. I normally manage about 1,000 in the morning, break for lunch at 12pm, and then squeeze out another 500 words. Once that’s done I try and fit in a blog post or article and then, at 3pm, I take a break to do some exercise – I run on the treadmill or do a workout DVD. I’m often too busy to do that, particularly at the moment when I’m juggling two books, so I’ve come up with a solution that means I’m not spending eight hours a day sitting on my bum – a treadmill laptop tray!
I set the treadmill to a 1.0 or 2.0 incline and a speed of about 2.5km/ph and then I start typing. It sounds tricky, like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time but once I get into the rhythm of walking and typing I barely even notice I’m moving. I can manage about an hour’s worth of writing this way until my back starts to twinge and I have to sit down again.
By 4pm my concentration is shot so I move into the living room and read for about forty-five minutes. I’m very lucky in that I receive quite a few advanced review copies of other author’s books so there’s normally a sizeable pile to choose from.
At 4.45pm it’s time to put on my coat and collect my son from nursery. Once home watches TV or play on the Wii whilst I rush around the kitchen like a woman possessed, stacking the dishwasher and wiping down the surfaces. Then there’s just enough time for a game or a story with my son before my partner gets home at 6.30pm and we start the bedtime routine. After that I cook the dinner and collapse in a heap on the sofa.