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Time To Write

I had an email last week from Michael in Seattle asking how I manage and structure my day to write.

Time for everyone is precious. Like the autumn leaves the weeks, months and years are blown away. As a writer I am aware that my time can become distracted by tasks and pursuits that stop me from writing. That’s why I need to be disciplined as best I can.

Twenty years ago this week I visited Rome for the first time and saw the amazing statue of Caesar Augustus of Prima Porta addressing his legions before battle. Looking upon the sheer beauty of this piece, it was hard to imagine that it was once a solid block of Carrara Marble. Yet, day by day and with a vision, the sculptor began to carve away to reveal his vision for all to see. Day by day, piece by piece - it is the same for writing.

Every writer must make time for their work. Roald Dahl wrote for two and half hours every day. Jeffery Archer writes in two hours blocks punctuated with two hours rest. Stephen King writes in 2000 word blocks. J.K. Rowling writes while her children are at school. Michael Arditti writes throughout the night.

I write for three hours every day and that is all.

During the working week I wake at five in the morning, and after coffee I enter my study and write for an hour and a half. This is the most productive part of my writing day. While the world around me is waking I am writing. I am often amazed at how much I can get done in this time.

Then, after a day of teaching, I return to my study after dinner for a final hour and a half, usually from six until seven thirty. I work with the door closed and in complete silence. I also avoid distractions by switching off the laptop wifi and leaving the phone outside the room. Then from seven thirty I work for a short while on my tweets via Hootsuite and other promotions for my books.

Weekends and holidays are different. I always write during the morning until noon and then switch off and do something else. These sessions are longer than the working week but are more relaxed.

Each week I try to write between twenty to twenty-five hours. Some days are good while others are embarrassingly bad. Yet, to tell the story I know I need to chip away bit by bit.

There is no secret to writing. Every book is the wreck of the perfect idea. But the story will only ever remain a dream until we begin to commit to the written form.

Writing is not a chore for me. It’s my life’s joy and the most rewarding thing I do. It’s becoming me.

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