I don’t lead a very routine life. That makes me sound cool. Like I’m a spontaneous free spirit. I think it’s more truthful to say I’m disorganised. And erratic. My name is Angela Clarke and I’m irregular. My diary needs more fibre. I need more sleep.
Authors find themselves doing all kinds of things these days. Teaching, performing, filing journalism, critiquing manuscripts, giving radio interviews, and of course, writing books. Or drafting them, or editing them, or proofing them, or screwing them up and throwing them in the bin. This free form work schedule has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m writing this at thirty-seven minutes past midnight on a Thursday on a flight back from the French writing retreat Chez Castillion. Cool, huh? Tomorrow/later today I’m going to Coventry. Less chic (no offence, Coventry). But it is for a live podcast recording in front of an audience of 150, who I hope to flog my books too. At some point between these two C’s I need to write eight thousand words of my latest novel, read half a hardback for a panel I’m on this weekend, get false eyelashes stuck onto my face, and finish this article. So, in the spirit of full disclosure I’m going to give you a breakdown of a good, everything’s going to plan and I haven’t eaten all of the chocolate biscuits day (let’s call it Monday). And then I’m going to give you a bad, everything’s gone to pot and I don’t even have any chocolate biscuits day (let’s call it every other day of the week).
I rise at 6.20am to take my partner to the station at 6.22am. I then go swimming and complete my daily physio in the pool while listening to a book on Audible. Back home by 8.30am, and smelling of the posh lotion they have at my gym, I eat porridge with maple syrup while I check my emails. At 9am I start my first writing stint of the day. At around 11am I take a break to empty the dishwasher and sing along badly to whatever is playing on BBC 6 Music. At 11.30am I start my next stint of work, often drafting an article or responding to emails from my publisher. At 12.30 I get hungry again so I make some lunch from my organic vegetable box. I eat at my desk (naughty), and at 1pm I record a radio call over the phone. I work again on my latest project until around 5.30pm when my partner comes home and we take a break for a lemongrass and ginger tea, and a stroll round the local Cathedral (good). From 6.30pm to 8.30pm I work more on my latest project. And then I cook dinner from my organic vegetable delivery box, and either watch an hour’s TV or read before bed. Then, right when I should be going to sleep I watch six YouTube videos until around 1am.
Average Every Other Day6.20am my alarm goes off. 6.20am and one second I switch my alarm off. 10am I wake up. I panic about being late. I check my emails while my porridge cooks. I reply to all the emails that have come in in the last hour while I was asleep (how are there so many?). From 11.30am I work on my latest project. At some point I make toast, and worry about my organic vegetables going mouldy in their box. At around 3.30pm I take a break and drive to the pool for physio. I get stuck in the school traffic. At 4.30pm I am still sitting in my swimming costume in the changing rooms responding to emails and checking Facebook. I have a swim and listen to a book on Audible. I get really into the book and forget to get out of the pool. By 6pm I am home. I dash out to get a hot chocolate and run round M&S for something random like fresh mint. I then don’t use the mint. At 7.30pm I microwave a ready meal, which I eat in front of the television. From 8.30pm I work. At midnight I think about stopping, but I’m so wired I have to watch six YouTube videos before I go to bed. Around about 2am I creep into bed trying not to wake my partner. I fall asleep under a blanket of self-loathing. I set my alarm for 6.20am.
Angela Clarke’s third novel in her social media series, Trust Me, publishes in paperback, EBook and Audio on 15 June