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Do you have a writing routine and if so what is it?

I'm often asked if I have a writing routine and do I write every day? Do I count the number of words I write? Is there some kind of ritual that I follow? Is there a formula or a magic method of writing for success? ( If only!)

Well there are writers who write the same time every day come what may; others who will write a certain number of words each day and when they've done their quota, they'll knock off. Others who can only write while drinking a cup of tea, or coffee, wine or whisky.

What suits one person will not suit another and of course it depends on whether or not  you also have a day job (or a night one come to that) or a family to care for. Time is the critical element, but if you really want to write that novel, short story or non fiction book you need to make the time and have the commitment, passion and motivation to continue with it.

When I was running my marketing business I could only write at the weekends so Saturday and Sunday afternoons became my writing time. However, during the week if I was at a loose end waiting for clients or stuck in a traffic jam I would jot down notes or record ideas, thoughts and character descriptions into my Dictaphone (pre-mobile phone recordings).

Now as a full time writer I have no real set routine but I do like to write every day, speaking engagements permitting.

Usually I write every evening between 5pm and 7.30pm. I also write Saturday and Sunday mornings and often in the afternoons depending on my commitments. Occasionally, during the week, when not out walking, I'll snatch an hour in the morning.

Some days when the words flow, or I am at a critical stage of writing - usually at the end of the first draft of a novel - I am keen to crack on and write as much as I can. This can result in me spending all day at my computer. Not good for me, but I do get up occasionally and walk around, or pick up my knitting and think through my plots.

Other days I will struggle to find the correct words and the creative flow will trickle to a halt. If the latter happens I usually again pick up my knitting, do some sewing or go for a walk while my mind works away at the snag with the plot or with a character.

Writing a novel also involves research and because many of my contemporary crime novels are set in the area in which I live I do a lot of research on location, walking Inspector Andy Horton's patch, which is Portsmouth, the Solent and the Isle of Wight. (All right so I can't walk on water but I can traverse the Solent by boat). I also travel to the locations used in the Art Marvik mystery thrillers. With my Inspector Ryga 1950s set mysteries I consult ordnance survey maps of the era.

But writing isn't only about pounding away at a keyboard, writers also spend a great deal of time staring into space - thinking! (That's where the knitting comes in, I can knit and think at the same time). My mind is constantly working, thinking through the plots or sub plots and developing characters. Time will also be spent mapping out the plot lines and developing and researching the background of my characters, their personalities and motivations.

There is no magic prescription for the best routine for writing, it's a matter of trial and error, individual circumstances, commitment and passion.


About Pauline

Pauline Rowson lives on the South Coast of England and is the best selling author of many crime novels, published by Joffe Books. Her popular crime novels include the DI Andy Horton Solent Murder Mystery series, the Art Marvik mystery thrillers and the 1950s set Inspector Ryga mysteries. Subscribe to her newsletter for all the latest books news.

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