How to write novels, a blog and short stories, while holding down a full-time day job. For writing a book, a target-driven approach may work for some people.
People sometimes ask me: ‘when do you write? What are you working on now?’
Here is a snapshot.
I write on weekends and free evenings. My goal is to do two hours of writing every day. It is an ambitious target, but I often meet it. 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.
I usually write in long-hand, then transcribe to the computer. I find looking at a computer screen as I write slows me down. The act of transcription to the screen later is enjoyable, and acts as an extra edit.
Mostly I work in the evenings between about 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. At weekends I sometimes manage four or five hours in a day. Many nights and some weekends, I don’t write at all. Often I find that moving to a place with no computer, with only my writing book and a couple of different-coloured pens, can stimulate creativity.
So what am I writing now?
My top project is the third in my trilogy of comedy love stories: two novels down, one to go. Writing a novel is, as any writer knows, a big job. The completed two are called Sex and the Summit and The Boyfriend (the latter is a working title). The trilogy is for publishing after 2021.
My second writing project is marketing my already-published Berlin thriller, Blood Summit (earlier working title: Show me the head of the President). To see why you should read it, check out the reviews on Amazon. Good reviews, and plenty of them 🙂
It is a tragic fact that, however brilliant, books do not sell themselves. Promotions – blogs, book readings, circulars or tweaking the settings on Amazon (I occasionally offer a Hotel Story for free) make a difference. All, sadly, also take time away from writing new fiction.
My third writing project is my Seven Hotel Stories. These were not written for publication. But after I had some terrific feedback, I published them (9 so far). You can find all my Hotel Stories on my Robert Pimm Amazon page. Or you can download a complete free Hotel Story here.
Project four is running this web-site. It’s easy to spend an evening tidying up links, updating posts, and so on – even before you start writing anything. The biggest danger is obsessing over how many hits you’re getting – I try not to look more than once every ten seconds, but it’s tough.
Project five is my back catalogue of novels and short stories. In addition to Blood Summit, Sex and the Summit and The Boyfriend I have written five other novels:
– A Killing in Sevastopol, a thriller I wrote in 2012 about tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea, is a prequel to Blood Summit but stars John Savage, a former SIS agent traumatised by a murder in Moscow who returns to work as a diplomat in Kyiv. Also in the drawer;
– The Skip Outside the Lenin Museum, a thriller set in 1990s Moscow, is a prequel to A Killing in Sevastopol. Yes, it is in the drawer;
– I am working to update and publish one of my favourite novels, Coronatime. Set in California, New York, London and Vienna, it is a cult crossover between Cloud Atlas, A Handmaid’s Tale and Brazil. You can read a chunk of it on this site;
– Holiday Period is a prequel to Biotime, set a few hundred years earlier in London. Currently in the drawer;
– my recent novel Palladium links a powerful, myth-flavoured opening set at the time of the Conquest of Istanbul in 1453 with a modern-day thriller featuring John Savage, introduced in A Killing in Sevastopol. It, too, is awaiting a propitious time for publication.
I also have a back catalogue of other short stories – such as “Fixing It“, published on this blog.
So that’s it. It’s demanding. It’s a joy. It’s writing.