I know what I would like to be able to tell you about my days.

Hostage to Fortune

Hostage to Fortune

I’d love to be able to write that after tea in bed at 6 and breakfast at 7.30 I head upstairs to my study to write (or re-write, or proof-read, or re-re-write) all day, interrupted only for the odd cup of coffee and to eat lunch and supper that my husband has prepared.

I would like to be able not to admit that I often hang around at the breakfast table for an hour or so finishing the newspaper’s general knowledge crossword and having a second cup of coffee. I would like not to have to confess that most days I take more than an hour off at 12.00 to go to the pub or that my productive day stops on the dot of 5.15 for Pointless.

I would like to say that my days are completely dedicated to my writing.

But I can’t.

Most mornings, between breakfast and that lunchtime trip to the pub, I will be sitting at my computer but that does not mean that I am writing. I still have to earn a living (how many authors can survive on writing alone?) so instead of making progress with my latest mystery I may be re-organising a client’s database. Even if there is no work to be done for the ‘day job’ there will be the other tasks (dealing with emails, updating my website and maintaining a presence on social media) that are necessary if I am to get my work into the consciousness of the book-buying public.

In the mornings. if I’m not sitting at the computer, I will be attacking household chores. That is never wasted time, however, as I am always thinking about who is going to do what next, and how and why and where. ‘Who is Gordon Hamilton?’ I ask myself as I load the washing machine. ‘What is he like behind that enigmatic facade?’ I ask as I mop the floor. I delve further into why he is the way he is while attempting to tidy the garden and I try to understand more about the relationship he has with Skye and Fergal (they are all real people to me) as I feed the cats, do the ironing, cook meals and wash up.

All morning, whatever I am doing, these people are in my head so when I finally get onto the computer to write (usually in those three hours between lunch and Pointless) I am ready to go.

Yet I can’t complain. The frustrating compromises I have to make are entirely self-inflicted.

No one told me I had to be a writer. As a self-published author I have no editor to please, no deadlines to meet, no advance payments to justify - I am the only person putting this pressure on me.

At 10.30, lying in bed worrying about what Skye and Fergal will be up to tomorrow, I think I must be mad.

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