I open my eyes early, happy that for once I’ve had a very acceptable 6-hour sleep. Then I think how delighted I am that I’m a) still alive and b) I don’t have to go to work (my previous life was running my own estate agency business). Once I’ve got those two things acknowledged I hop out of bed and make a mug of tea while talking to Dougie, my beautiful white cat, who is winding in and out of my legs, yowling for his breakfast.
After showering and muesli I’m ready for a day in my cabin. It was converted from a workshop which my husband had his eye on when we first moved here. But I knew it would make a perfect writer’s den. Dougie gallops ahead and jumps on to his blanket on his half of the sofa, gives a few perfunctory licks, and promptly goes to sleep, but I walk through to where the real stuff happens.
I check my emails and have a quick look at Twitter. Then it’s down to business. Today is a particular challenge. A story has been churning in my mind for a while, but with polishing the last book to meet the editor’s deadline, I’ve not jotted down more than a couple of paragraphs. It’s always the same when I start a new novel. ‘Can I really pull this off?’ Have I set myself a subject which I won’t be able to tackle?’ I tell myself this every time, and my eyes flick to the top of my bureau where my five published novels are displayed, together with a photograph of my late mother’s beautiful smiling face cheering me on. ‘You can do it,’ I imagine her saying.
So I put my fingers on the keyboard, and type. I like watching the words jump into place. Before an hour is up I’ve got a page or two that might, just might, be the opening of that elusive first chapter.
‘Coming for a walk?’ asks my husband.
‘Can’t stop,’ I say.
The rest of the day dissolves into a rhythm of typing, broken up briefly for coffee and lunch. Dougie finally stretches, leaps onto my worktop and flops over my mouse mat.
‘Anything I can do to push the story along, Mum?’ he chirrups as he walks over my keyboard.
‘I didn’t mean to write that,’ I admonish, deleting his rubbish, then with horror, realising I’ve also deleted my precious chapter. Thank goodness for the magic key which brings it back. I do a word count – 873. My goal is a thousand. I rub my back. I’m not going to push it further.
Time for tea. I’ve done pretty well today and decide I’ve earned a lovely chunk of Lindt – the caramel one with a touch of salt.
And there’s still time to go for a walk.