The trouble with trying to write a book is the trouble of trying to get around to writing it. I would far rather spend all day riding my bike – or even bailing out my tent – but seeing as I’ve just spent the past year performing both of these activities, there comes a time when you’ve run out of windows to wash or floors to hoover and simply got to force yourself to sit down, stare at a blank sheet and type a word. And once you’ve typed that first word you can think: only 999,000 words to go. Easy really.
So that’s what I’m doing now, writing words and stringing them together to form a haphazard heap of sentences. Despite the complete lack of exercise it requires, and the shutting yourself away from everything and everyone, I strangely love writing. My wonked knee seems to love it too because it can at last lie back, put up its feet and have a rest. For once I’m not forcing it to haul me and my weighty load day after day over mountain over mountain. That said, I do still have to have my thirty-to-forty-plus miles-a-day dose of cycling. If I can’t cycle daily I tend to get horribly fidgety and crotchety and…well, thoroughly unpleasant.
So here’s my writing day:
Fall out of bed at 6am, if not before. Sometimes, if I’ve got a real writing head on, I’ll get up at 4am. Also, looming deadlines mean extra early rising. Sometimes it’s easier just not to go to bed at all.
The first thing I have to do when I get up is to go cycling for an hour or two or more, no matter whether it’s dark, freezing, frosty, raining cows and horses or blowing a gale. Unless I have a good heart-pounding cycle I can’t write.
When I get home I have breakfast – a hefty pot of porridge. Then I sit a foot off the ground on a small square stool I made when I was eleven, at a low makeshift table with a removable top of plywood wedged against the window, and write for five hours until it’s time to eat again. (Another very large pot of food). I then go for another hour or two’s fast cycle. Then I come home, pick up the axe and chop up a barrow-load of wood. Then I light a fire and write for another five hours. Then I eat another very large pot of food and maybe have a little light entertainment with the builder. And then I write until about midnight – give or take an hour depending on the word flow and the weighted state of my eyelids.
Then I flop into bed, ready to start all over again.
Word count to date: 16,500