When should you write? How can you find time to complete a novel – or two, or eight? Do writing targets – eg two hours per day – help? My schedule.
Someone the other day asked me: ‘when do you write? And what are you working on now?’
Here is a snapshot.
First, I have a full-time job. It’s a fine job and I’m privileged to have it. It keeps me busy most days from around 8.30, when I start work, until around 18.45. My job also requires me to be out a lot in the evenings.
So I concentrate my writing on weekends and free evenings. My aim is to do an average of two hours of writing every day. This is an ambitious target; but I have met it most months this year (2020). I’m generous to myself on what counts as writing – eg this blog, research or meeting another author as well as physically putting pen to paper.
This target-driven approach works for me. Mostly I work in the evenings between about 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. At the weekends I sometimes write for 4-6 hours in a day. Many nights and some weekends, of course, I don’t write at all.
Writing projects at the moment include:
- My dystopic novel, Coronatime. What will happen after Coronavirus? Coronatime is one of my favourite novels, and one I hope could become a cult hit – a cross between Cloud Atlas and A Handmaid’s Tale.
- My Hotel Stories. I write one of these every year as a birthday gift to my partner, who is a hotel general manager. So far I have published nine – a tenth is on the way.
- Promoting my Berlin thriller Blood Summit. This is quite a success but, like anything else, needs marketing support. I enjoy doing readings and writing about it.
- Running this web-site. Setting it up was a steep learning curve – I was much helped early on by the wonderful Stephanie Muzall, and am now planning a revamp with the help of the excellent Dylan Cripps. Watch this space. The biggest danger with a blog is obsessing over how many hits you’re getting – I try not to look more than once every fifteen seconds, but it’s tough.
- A trilogy of comic novels I hope to publish after 2021. The first two are written; the third is at the planning stage. Again, watch this space.
- My new thriller Palladium, set in Turkey. The novel is complete; but my first efforts to market it have met with mixed success. A rewrite may be needed.
- My back catalogue of novels and short stories. In addition to those mentioned, I have written three other novels. They include:
- A Killing in Sevastopol, a thriller I wrote in 2012 about tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Possibly the most prescient thriller ever – or the biggest missed opportunity. Or both. Killing is a prequel to Palladium – see above
- The Skip Outside the Lenin Museum, a thriller set in 1990s Moscow – a prequel to A Killing in Sevastopol, featuring some of the same characters.
- Holiday Period: a prequel to Coronatime, set a few hundred years earlier.
“Coronatime” – coming soon: watch this space!
I also have some fine short stories, waiting for a home.
That’s it. It’s demanding. It’s a joy. It’s writing, and it’s a passion. Comments welcome.
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P.P.S. This is a much-revised version of a post originally published in 2015.