One of the reasons I loved being a journalist – and now love being an author – is that no two days are ever quite the same. So let me share first what a day might look like when I’m writing a new book...
I have always worked best in the mornings but the older I get, the lazier I get about the start time! I usually wake naturally around 7.30am but now allow myself the treat of coffee in bed while I check emails and messages on my iPad. (I also tend to check the rankings and reviews for my books – especially if I have a new release but pretend I didn’t tell you that!)
Then it’s a quick shower and straight to my desk (or straight to work in my dressing gown if I’m suddenly struck with a great idea for a scene - this latter strategy proving embarrassing when the postman knocks).
I have a strict 1,000 words-a-day minimum when writing a new novel – more if I fall behind with a deadline. It varies enormously how long this wordcount takes as sometimes I’m side tracked by extra research. But I always write in ‘forward gear’ on a first draft these days – by which I mean that I don’t edit as I go along. Polishing is for later. I know now that it’s best to get the whole story down while the energy is high.
If I hit a plot problem, I like to walk to solve it and am lucky to live in beautiful south Devon with lots of gorgeous views right on my doorstep.
The afternoon is for catching up on general admin along with PR, social media, preparing talks and replying to messages from readers. I try to finish before the 6pm news (as a journalist, I’m still addicted to the news!) and am very lucky that my husband is now retired so has taken charge of dinner.
But my routine will be very different at different stages in a book’s life. When I’m editing, I tend to work very long days and this is when I have to be extra careful; I had a bout of RSI once which frightened the life out of me. I now have software on my computer which makes me take regular breaks on longer days.
All is different when a new book is launching. Then we have little bubbles of unexpected excitement. The joy of trips! For instance, I’ve just been up to London to do some filming for my publisher and a foreign publisher has just invited me abroad to launch a book. Exciting! Also, there are occasional literary festivals and talks to give.
It’s these trips, the company of other authors and lovely messages from readers that keep me going through those days (and weeks and months) in the silence of my office!
And I wouldn’t, of course, want it any other way. Right from childhood, I dreamed of this life as an author. It took me ten years to get my first book deal and I now count myself lucky... every single day.
Teresa’s third psychological thriller THE PROMISE - published by Thomas & Mercer – is available as an eBook, paperback and on audio now.
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