Got your morning cup of coffee? Here’s my favorite. Note the cookie, too!
I just finished the ms of A Spy’s Guide to Seduction, the third book of the Husband Hunter series from Kensington. For the first time in two years I’m not facing a deadline while simultaneously meeting the demands of family life—weddings, births, major illnesses and caregiving, and death and loss. Much of this life experience went directly into those stories, available now.
What kept me going?
Writers, like runners, thrive on routine and discipline. As Mason Currey says in the opening of Daily Rituals, “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” A routine also keeps a book and its characters alive in a writer’s mind, while distractions are the great enemy. I agree with the Turkish novelist Pamuk, who says that one dinner party can wreck his writing for three weeks. Or as Jane Austen put it, “Composition seems to me impossible with a head full of joints of mutton & doses of rhubarb.”
In spite of the reputation of artists as “bohemian” and unconventional, most of Currey’s 160 creative people had a strict regimen of regular hours of work daily, especially morning hours. Flaubert recommended, “Be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.” And Balzac existed on endless cups of coffee.
While I need my writing routine, the hours in the chair and the commitment to words on the page, I also need the rituals that connect me with those I love. I depend on my coffee, a walk with my dog, a glass of wine with my husband, and a story read to a grandchild. Maybe, I should add yoga!
After all, as Joyce Carol Oates puts it, “Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” After that, who doesn’t need a walk or a glass of wine?
Comment here about a routine you swear by for a chance to win a free download of book 2 of the Husband Hunter Series—A Lady’s Guide to Property and Passion.