I’m often told ‘you must be very self-disciplined to do what you do.’ I probably am self-disciplined, but it never feels like that. If anything I’m more deadline driven. When you know that book is due at the end of the month it concentrates the mind wonderfully.
The thing is, I’ve never really managed to develop a routine that suits both my work and family life. If I am writing alone somewhere, on the few occasions when I’ve gone away just to write, I find that I naturally settle into a routine: get up and start work straight away. write for about an hour then have breakfast. Then write till lunch. Go out in the afternoon, then write again in the evening. This suits me, but it’s not so good for family life. I’ve never quite cracked the routine at home. Every day seems frustratingly different.
I also liked the quote from Will Self: ‘Overall, though, I have a healthy appetite for solitude. If you don’t, you have no business being a writer.’ This is what I shall use the next time the wife calls me Norman No-mates.