Don’t try and write your first book in December and January…

…Start in mid-summer and work until the beginning of December, break for a couple of months, then start again in February and aim to complete by summer. Do not start in mid-summer and aim to complete without a break by March (Guess what? My aim was the latter. Guess what? It’s not going to happen. Guess what? I’m a million words behind schedule and next time, I’m going to make a schedule which isn’t stupid. Maybe).

Why isn’t it going to happen? Because no-one does anything they don’t absolutely have to in December and January. December and January are not for creativity. They’re for wallowing, boring work, admin, career angst, housing angst, blogging about them, scoffing your weight in biscuits, prodding the cats and telling yourself you’re going for a run. Or maybe a little bit of editing (even though you swore you wouldn’t until you’d finished…). Obviously if you have a book deal and/or an external deadline already then the advice is different. But otherwise don’t.

Pretty much the only thing that’s kept me going through the last couple of months is my own raucous laughter every time I remember my dad’s suggestion that, in a screen version of the book, the character Toby Bainbridge could be played by Patrick Baladi…

Patrick Baladi. In my dad’s words: “You know, the one from ‘The Office’ who always plays baddies…”

I don’t know how to break this delicate information to you, but no book character of mine is drawn from any men who look like that. If I knew any, I don’t think I could stay vertical for long enough to write novels…

(To quote teenage Rae Earl in the absolutely sublime My Mad Fat Diary: “I want him to go down on me for SO LONG, HE….HAS…TO…DEVELOP…GILLS!!!“)

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