Before I begin to write (or draw) there are always one or two things I have to do to make my studio comfy. Like…
1. Put on my writing slippers. They’re nothing special, just grey and knitted and baggy, not from a specialist ‘writing attire’ shop or anything. They don’t have ‘writer’ in purple sequins across the toe (although that would be fab!), but they are warm and when I write I wear them (see pic below).
2. Adjust my chair, which involves three minutes of height testing and plumping cushions. I’ve discovered that the best way to do this is to throw them on the floor and pummel them with my fists or launch a few kicks with the old writing slippers (see above).
3. Make tea. This is a long and complicated process, as any true tea connoisseur knows, and involves a lot of pot warming, water boiling and grumbling because my favourite mug is always dirty and festering in the dishwasher and I have to clean it by hand because no other mug will do!
4. Adjust the angle of my Venetian blinds so the light is just right. OK, so I know this sounds a little obsessive, but too far one way and the slats block my inspirational view of the hills, too far the other and all I can see are shed roofs and bins.
5. Make a Spotify playlist… for each chapter! Yes, I spend far too many hours ensuring that the musical mood in the studio completely suits the emotional mood of my characters. Hours and hours and hours!
6. Yoga (sort of). A horrible thought will invariably pop into my head: I’m about to sit still for an awfully long time, so I guess I should exercise at bit first. I will lean over and touch my knees (my toes being rather far away and a little over-ambitious), then wriggle my shoulders or stand on one leg. I might turn my head left and right, down and up, which is the moment I will notice…
7. Cobwebs to be vacuumed. I have a lot of cobwebs and dust bunnies – those clusters of fluff that look so cute as they scud across the floor (see pic below). I do clean from time to time but must admit I let the domestic chores slip a little when I’ve got a new book idea or a looming deadline. So, I don’t mind some dust and dirt, just as long as it’s not dangling over my desk. Totally distracting! And finally…
8. E-mail, Blog, Facebook and Tweet. I get all that messaging and chatting malarkey out of my system, which usually takes about an hour (or three) by which time I’m in need of another cup of tea, a quick stretch (to my shins this time), a swift punch of the chair cushions and tweak of the blinds. Actually, now that I think about it, how do I ever get my books written?!!!
What’s your routine before (or instead of) working?