Where do you write most often and why?
I’m lucky enough to have my own space to write – my study. It’s small and looks out over my back garden. Although it’s not exactly tidy, I know where everything is … or, at least, that everything’s in there somewhere. It gets a tidy up between books, when I throw away notes and put away research material.
I bought my chair with the proceeds of a short story sale, years ago. It’s split at the front and catches on my clothes. I’ve replaced it twice but then taken the new chair back to the shop because it isn’t as comfortable.
My bragging shelves are in front of me, containing various editions of my books and the magazines in which my work appears. There are also family photos, my own reading material, ornaments and my white board. The latter is supposed to be for my ‘to-do’ list but coming up to publication day I have so many things on my list that the board isn’t big enough for my sprawling writing, so I’ve got one on my phone too. It’s not as satisfying to have the list on the phone because I can’t cross things off, only delete them.
Do you have a writing routine, and if so, what does it entail? If not, how do you prefer to write?
If I’m at home rather than on a research trip or at a conference I usually get up about 6.30 and I’m at my desk around 7.15 with a cuppa. I do my social media and answer emails then begin whatever my writing task is – at the moment it is getting my summer 2020 book ready to send in to my editor. At around 9.00 I get another drink and a bowl of porridge, which I have at my desk. I work through to about 6.00 in the evening though I leave my desk for lunch. Most days I take a break: Tuesdays for Dancefit, Wednesdays yoga, Thursdays piano, Fridays Zumba and Saturdays FitStep. I tack on a cuppa with my gym buddies when possible. I believe these breaks are good for my mental health as well as physical.
The beauty of a writing career is that it’s portable. This autumn I want to take an extra holiday so I’ll spend, say, from 6.00 to 11.00 in the morning writing and then chill for the rest of the day.
What is essential to you while you write?
I suppose the only absolute essential is something to write with – usually my laptop, which I plug into a larger monitor when working in my study. A pad and pen would do, if necessary. Other than that, I do prefer silence or background music when I’m writing. The thing that makes it difficult for me to concentrate is being able to hear people’s conversations so I sometimes wear headphones. I’m looking after my son and daughter-in-law’s dog as I write this and he alternately snores, breaks wind and barks. I would prefer he didn’t!
I’m adaptable and have written in hotels, planes, trains, waiting rooms and cafés. When I was on a research trip to Switzerland for Let it Snow I wrote at my hosts’ dining room table in the evenings.
I also love to go on a writing retreat to Italy or Malta. The writing routine gets disturbed but someone else worries about meals and other domestic stuff. There’s no gym. In fact, there’s nothing much to do but write…
Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft is out now in ebook. Available in paperback 14th November 2019.