How not to write a novel

I’m a writer; that is what I do. Sometimes I even get paid for it, and I’m given deadlines and everything is hunky dory.

However, on the days that I allocate to working on a new novel things can go a bit tits up.

Here’s the thing about novels, they are long, and inevitably packed with words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters; the whole lot. Good God, it’s hard work! And I mean really hard work; not brain surgery hard or finding the cure for cancer hard, but still hard. Ok? Whoever said writing was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration was dead on the money.

A typical ‘novelling’ day goes a little like this:

8am – Alarm goes off. Snooze button is hit, repeatedly

9am – Finally open my eyes. Open the blind. Justify staying in bed just while I check my emails

11am – Still in bed. Emails checked. Facebook checked. Pinterest checked. Various blogs I follow have been checked. The tv schedule for that evening has been checked. Topshop and Net-a-Porter’s latest arrivals have been checked.

11.15am – Beginning to feel a bit guilty. Get out of bed. Put the kettle on. Feeling more productive. Realise I haven’t prepared a blog post. Finish blog post. Feel satisfied. Reward myself with more Pinterest browsing.

12pm – Getting peckish. Raid the cupboards and fridge. Outrage that Mr T ate all the chocolate hobnobs. Consider walking to the shop for supplies. Veto in favour of a bowl of cereal. Return to bed.

1pm – Make a To-Do list. Feeling much more productive now. Call Momma P for a chat. Check the stats for my blog. Worry that no one likes my writing. Finally open the latest piece of writing for my book. Stare at page.

2pm – Still staring at page. Change the font size. Change font. Add page numbers. Throw in a header. Change the line spacing.

2.15pm – Find some Kendal Mint Cake at the back of a cupboard. Random. Eat.

2.30pm – Decide I need to do more research for my book. Discover that BBC’s iPlayer has a whole series on Brazil (where I’m setting part of my novel). Justify watching series back to back. Still in bed.

5pm – Wake up. Must have dozed off during one of the documentaries. Realise Mr T will be home in an hour or so. Smell armpits. Reluctantly jump in shower. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Move cereal bowl into kitchen. Make bed. Throw in a load of washing. Unload the dishwasher. Open the fridge hoping for inspiration for tea.

5.15pm – Turn on Pointless.

6pm – Switch over to The Simpsons. Mr T arrives home. He asks about my day. I reply optimistically.

11pm – Can’t sleep due to impromptu afternoon nap. Mr T out like a light. Worry over today’s low word count (0). Promise to do better tomorrow.



2 thoughts on “How not to write a novel

  1. Yeah, that’s probably what my day would look like as well if I didn’t have to get out of bed to get to my job… I usually get back at 12pm, fully awake and yet tired from working for only three hours. Still, it’s easier to be productive when you know it’s too late to get back in bed!


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