As I writer I find that no two days are the same - which is why I love what I do. But when I have a deadline looming, there’s nothing else for it but to knuckle down and get on with the job…
6 am Alarm pings. When I was younger I used to work into the wee small hours - until 3 am sometimes. Now, I realise that’s counter-productive, and anything I write in the middle of the night will be tosh. In fact, I’ve turned into one of those types I used to find so bizarre - a morning person. It’s the time of day I do my best work and can concentrate better. I get up, potter around, walk our collie cross, Jack, and then come back and get settled for the day ahead.
7 am I should be working properly by now - or at least the laptop should be on. I have a serious coffee habit - I can’t imagine life without it - and will be two cups down already. Breakfast is either nutty Dorset cereal or mushed avocado on toast.
8.30 am My husband, Jimmy, works part of the week in Edinburgh and commutes there from Glasgow, where we live. Our daughter Erin, 16, is our last child living at home with us - our 20 year-old twin sons are in the second year of university and share flats with friends. Erin usually walks to school but if the weather’s dire I’ll break off and drive her there.
9.30 am As I’ve reached my fifties I’ve finally realised that exercise is pretty crucial in order to deal with anxiety and cranky moods - as well as to stay in reasonable shape. I spent pretty much all of my twenties with a cigarette and a glass of wine in my hand, but in fact, I genuinely enjoy looking after myself now. I’ll either go for a run or nip round the corner to a brilliant yoga studio called Seasonal Yoga. If I can, I squeeze in two classes a week.
11 am Post-yoga Jack gets his proper walk. We live in Glasgow’s Southside and are lucky to have lots of beautiful parks nearby. For 15 years we lived in a small country town called Biggar, in South Lanarkshire, but by the time our boys were gearing up to leave home I was ready for a change and was missing city living (I lived in London for 17 years). We live in a Victorian tenement flat in a quiet street, and the city centre is only five minutes away by train. On Jack’s walk, I pick up a few bits for dinner - we have amazing Asian shops around the corner where I buy all of our fruit, veg and spices. We could happily survive without ever going to a supermarket.
1.30 pm By now I am starving and have a typical freelancer’s lunch gleaned from whatever’s in the fridge. My favourite things are highly calorific: cheese, avocados, crunchy peanut butter. I usually have some kind of seedy crackers or oatcakes with whatever I feel like bunged on top. I don’t have a sweet tooth. It’s cheese that gets me - I could keep carving off slices until I’ve guzzled the entire block.
5 pm By this point I’ve run out of words, my eyes are boggled and my brain won’t work anymore. Until my thirties I could barely fry and egg - I once had a dinner party and bought ready-made bolognaise, and hid all the boxes in the kitchen bin. However, since having children I’ve learnt to love cooking. After a day at the laptop, it feels good to do something practical that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. We usually have fish with some kind of veggie side, although since Erin turned vegan last summer we’ve been eating lots of meat-free meals. I thought it’d be a nightmare but in fact it’s fine - and she and I have developed a serious tofu habit.
7 pm Jimmy and I catch up with a series we’re hooked on, like a Scandi drama - I love The Bridge. But I’m not a big telly watcher at all. I’d rather curl up with a book or magazine and a glass of wine, or do some drawing. In the last couple of years I’ve had the confidence to start drawing and painting again, which I loved as a child. I’m trying to train myself by following artists’ blogs, reading how-to-books, going to art classes and doing illustrations for friends’ small businesses just for the practice. Our children are all grown up now, and I reached the point where I had some headspace for art again. Apart from writing, it’s my very favourite thing to do.
9 pm A final blast on the book I’m currently writing, plus some admin. I used to think it was quite cool and bohemian to live in chaos, with bills unpaid and everything lost - but I couldn’t bear the stress these days!
11 pm In a similar vein, it used to be unthinkable for me to be in bed before 1 am - in the old days I’d be getting ready to go out! But these days I love to flop into bed with a book. I’m usually asleep, with the book still on me, after two pages max. I know what makes me feel good and reasonably in control of my life, so why fight it?
Fiona’s new novel, The Women Who Met Her Match, is out on April 13 (Avon)