I know writers who set their alarm for five-thirty so they can spend a few uninterrupted hours working on their book before going off to their day job.
I am not one of those writers.
I know of bestselling writers such as Steven King and Jeffrey Archer, who keep rigidly to the same routine. This involves being at their desk by a certain time, writing a certain number of words, and then doing something else entirely.
I am not one of those writers either.
So what kind of writer am I?
When I get home I check emails and social media, which is a really important tool for novelists. You could write the best book in the world but if no-one has heard of it, then it’s not going to sell. I have an author Facebook page, a twitter account and a website to look after, so basically it’s lunchtime and I still haven’t looked at my novel-in-progress, but I have drunk lots of tea and watched adorable animal videos.
At this point I must confess to a borderline addiction: news. My background in politics has fostered an obsessive need to know what’s going on in the world. I fear I’ll miss something crucial (another Trump tantrum, the childish antics of our parliamentarians, the latest Brexit scare story) if I turn off Sky News, so I compromise by turning off the sound.
Now it’s early afternoon and just as I’m about to get down to work, my dog reminds me that he needs feeding and walking again.
You’re probably wondering when I actually write. I’m wondering that too, but write I must because I’ve had two novels published in two years: Learning To Speak American in July 2016 and An Unsuitable Marriage in March 2017. My novel-in-progress—about a relationship gone bad between a young writer and his older lover—is on the back burner while I promote An Unsuitable Marriage. My publicist is keeping me busy doing radio interviews and writing magazine articles and blogs.
Once this flurry of promotional activity is over I’ll get back to my new novel and even when I’m not at my desk, the story will be buzzing in my head. So a day in this writer’s life is about much more than writing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Colette Dartford’s latest novel, An Unsuitable Marriage (Bonnier Zaffre) is out on the 9th March