Monday, 11 October 2010

How I Do It

I was at Wells Lit Fest giving a talk about what makes a good story.  After the event I signed books, then snuck into the audience for the next session.  A woman behind me tapped my shoulder and said she'd enjoyed my talk.  Then she added, 'What I really like hearing from authors is how they do it.' At that point the event started so I never answered her.  But, should anyone be interested, this is how I do it.

Day at writing cottage:
About twice a year I rent a cottage to write in.  There are no distractions, no internet so no email or Twitter.  I wake up and start writing.  After 1000 words or so, I go and have a shower and get dressed.  Another 1000 words, and it's breakfast.  Another 1000 words, and it's lunch and Bargain Hunt.  Another 1000 words and it's time for Countdown.  That's probably it, but I might do some more.  Total: 4000+ words.

Normal day:
I faff.  I procrastinate.  I go on Twitter.  I check my email.  I check my blog.  I check my stats.  I go on Twitter.  I can spend hours doing this.  I watch Bargain Hunt and eat my lunch.  Back upstairs, and time for some more faff.  Then, Countdown.  Then, feel horribly guilty at having to to tell my partner I've not written anything today.  Rush upstairs to bed, grab my laptop and start writing so at least I look busy if he comes home early.  He turns up.  I realise it's dark outside and I've done 2000 words. Total: 2000 words.

Teaching day:
I don't even try.  I'm usually so tired after teaching all I want to do is have a large mug of tea and curl up and watch Bargain Hunt or Countdown, but that's day time TV so I make do with re-runs of Poirot or Miss Marple. Total: 0 words.  

Which explains why going to the cottage is needed, and why I limit the number of hours I teach.

6 comments:

Talli Roland said...

Wow, I'm SO impressed by your cottage total! A normal day for me is about 2000 words, too -- depending on how much Twitter I indulge in and how many episodes of 'A Place in the Sun' I watch.

Thanks - I like to hear how authors do it too! :)

Sarah Duncan said...

I'm always impressed with the cottage total too, and come back intending to give up Twitter and email and day time TV and then...

womagwriter said...

If you stayed in the cottage for a month, you'd write a first draft, and would even be able to give yourself the weekends off. Wow. I think I need a cottage (and no day job!)

Sarah Duncan said...

Not sure I could keep up the output day after day after day. A week is fine, but I think if I knew it was for a month I'd faff around for the first 3 weeks and only get round to writing in the final week.

But I do like it for a week, I immerse myself in the novel and nothing but the novel. And it's always at a cheap rental time like November or January, so it's usually cold and rainy outside too which encourages sitting in bed with a laptop.

womagwriter said...

It sounds like heaven.

Sarah Duncan said...

I love it - for a week...