Article published on December 14, 2016.
Virginia Macgregor – author of The Return of Norah Wells
- Keep my writing hours scared*. The flexibility within a writer’s day is both a curse and a blessing. The lovely invitations for long lunches and coffees; the thousand and one things to do in the house (oh how domesticated I can become when avoiding my desk); a fun new recipe to try out. And most tempting of all: that good book to snuggle up with – perhaps the most dangerous distraction of all because reading can always be defended as work. But my writing hours are sacred and so, Monday-Friday, 9-5pm, I’m going to be strong and keep company only with my characters. [Ed: Scared is what Virginia wrote, although we wonder if – as mentioned above – she actually meant ‘sacred’? But does it matter? Sounds like she’s trying to be strong and we wish her luck either way!]
- Love the process. I am a deeply goal oriented person. A consequence of my impatient nature, perhaps. I want to know how many pages and words I’ve written, how many hours I’ve put in, how many novels I’ve managed to write this year – and, of course, I want them to do well, to capture the hearts of my readers. But I am reminded, time and again, that the reward is in the doing. That the end point, once reached, is often hollow compared to the magic of the process.
- Write every day, even when my second daughter is born. I’m pregnant. Due on the 7th of April. Another little girl. And I’m terrified. The novelist Maria Semple put it well in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Front Row when she said that being a mother, putting another human being first, creates a huge tension in the life of a creative person. I know that those first weeks are going to be a huge challenge – especially with a toddler to love and give attention to as well. But writing every day doesn’t mean keeping up the schedule that I would usually have: hours at my desk, thousands of words on the screen, notebooks filling with ideas. Writing every day means scribbling down even one sentence on the back of an envelope, jotting down a creative thought, thinking up a character. I won’t be able to do much in those early days, I know, but I promise myself to keep writing, always.
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