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Collated Answers from WW interviews

Do you have a writing routine? A place thatís special?
Adrian MeadI have found the best way to avoid procrastination is to maintain an iron clad routine. I'm up at 6.45. Stretch for an hour and a half whilst watching a movie. (your back is a writers best friend or worst enemy) I'm at my desk by 9.00 finish at 5.45 and then go and hit the pads and punch bag at the gym for two hours. I have a rule to never work weekends unless offered silly money.

For inspiration Edinburgh has got it all. It's a fantastic place to live and work and there are a million stories out there. With a castle, a small mountain and the largest arts festival in the world smack in the middle of town you can't help but be inspired.
  
Al Hunter AshtonNo, I can and do literally write anywhere but itís well documented that I like to write in the nude, which is true, so finishing off that final draft on the train to Elstree can cause problems!
  
Alan Williams
No. Often whilst my patient wife is watching television, Iím concentrating on my own thing.
  
Ali McNamaraIn the past I used to write my novels on the family computer, but I have my own desk now thatís kept only for writing. Unfortunately itís still in the same room as the family computer, so unless Iím writing when the house is completely empty, I often get disturbed. My dream is to have my own writing room.
  
Andrew BlackmanI always write first thing in the morning, before my head gets clogged with a thousand kinds of nonsense. I have a desk in my flat, or if I need a change of scene I go to ĎPick More Daisiesí cafť in Crouch End. It has huge windows to stare out of, a plug for my laptop, American-diner-style bottomless coffee, thereís no pressure to leave even if you donít buy anything for hours, and they play ĎFawlty Towersí tapes in the toilets. Perfect!
  
Anne BrookeI write poetry long-hand whilst sitting on the sofa, and then type it up on the computer. I always recycle the draft - I never keep it. Once it's on the computer in final form, it's history. With prose, I type straight to screen in my spare room (or occasionally in the kitchen - yes, sadly, we're an internally networked household!) and alter stuff as I go along. I write poetry whenever I have the need and five minutes, and prose on my two days off from University - usually Thursdays and Fridays, with bits and bobs over the weekend if I have time. I aim for 1,500 - 2000 words (don't have to be great - just words!) each writing day.
  
Bill SpenceI used to have a room set aside for writing but since moving to a different house I have had to use my bedroom but it is a big room so is no worry. I am fairly flexible with my routine but I do like to write each day. My aim is 8,000 words a week when the book is underway.
  
Cally TaylorI use the desk in my bedroom when Iím working from home for my day job. I used to write my fiction there too but sitting in the same place for up to twelve hours a day started to feel like some kind of horrible torture. About six months ago I bought myself a Netbook and now I write on the sofa in the living room.
  
Candi MillerSpecial time, not place. I like to write late at night, when the worldís asleep. I find it very liberating. Before day comes the possibilities seem endless.

But I can scribble anywhere. On my Salt & Honey research trip in the Kalahari desert, I sat on a log under a baobab tree, to write. The tree was a big as a cathedral and the topmost branch was home to a tawny eagle with a habit of dropping his dinner - live snakes.

  
Candy Denman I prefer to work in the mornings, at home in my office, although I tend to get loads of interruptions. If the pressure is really on, I have a weekend cottage where no one knows the telephone number, thereís no washing machine or iron, and if I decided to clean the cupboards out, it wouldnít take long, so displacement activities are reduced to a minimum (although that doesnít mean I canít find some when absolutely necessary).
  
Caroline RanceNo, I just write whenever I can, which is usually in the evenings after my son has gone to bed. I write on the sofa with my laptop, or in bed. Left to my own devices, I would write all night and sleep during the day, but in practice I'm usually too tired to work beyond about 10pm.

I'd love to have a proper writing room or a summer house at the bottom of the garden that no one else ever went into Ė but I haven't got one, so that's tough.
  
Cassandra ClareI have a little office, just big enough to turn around in. One wall is
books, the other is my computer, and I keep fan letters and fan art of
the characters pinned to the other for inspiration.
  
Catherine CooperIt varies. I am lucky enough to live in the South of France so in the summer, once I have sorted the kids out in the evening I sit outside with my laptop and a glass of wine and bash out 1,000 words or so. My son has just started secondary school and I have just recovered from a broken leg so at the moment my plan is to write in between the school run and when the gym opens at 9:30,which gives me an hour. This is in McDonalds, the only place in town with wifi, so not very glamorous. Sometimes I bash some words out during the day if I havenít got much work on, which is naughty because really I feel I should be pitching features. I like to get my books done quickly Ė usually over a few months, the first draft of the first was done in just a few weeks. If it drags on I lose interest.
  
SkippooWhen I struggled with writerís block, I used to go off on retreats to remote cottages to force myself to write. I stayed in some lovely places, but it got kind of expensive! Iím over that phase now after realising (or remembering) that writing isnít something that should be forced; itís something you allow. That led to me being nicer to myself and finding a way of working that really honours who I am. Instead of trying to force myself or telling myself I should write for hours on end, I just say: ĎOK, Iím going to show up at my laptop for 30/45/60 minutes and see what comes out.í Short bursts and no pressure works best. When Iíve written a new section, I go for a walk and read it on my kindle, highlighting bits that need more attention. At the same time, I record new ideas/thoughts into the voice recorder on my iPhone. I may look a bit odd to passers-by, doing all that whilst walking, but it works for me.
  
Catherine RichardsI donít really. Most of the writing gets done in my office a.k.a. the spare bedroom, mainly because thatís where the computer is. I have been known to drag the laptop out into the back garden on nice days. I did try to write on a train once but ended up with motion sickness.
  
Cathy GlassI always write (creatively) in the early morning. I need absolute quiet for that first (inspired) draft, and before dawn is usually the only quiet time. I can revise and edit any time of the day, but writing creatively requires solitude. I donít have a set place to write, it can be anywhere, providing it is quiet and I am alone and uninterrupted. My first draft is always in long hand, then I take it to my computer which is on my desk in my study.
  
Christina CourtenayNot really. I try to write every day, but sometimes I can go for days/weeks without writing anything. Then I make up for it and write obsessively when a really good idea comes to mind, all day, every day, until Iíve written the complete first draft.
  
Claire AllenEvenings are special to me. Once my son is in bed I tend to tkae the laptop out and write between 8 and 10pm. I need a little background noise, perhaps a glass of wine and I have to admit I love sitting in bed, propped by pillows and writing my heart out.
  
Claire MossI try to fit writing around the rest of my life (or vice versa) as best I can. When I'm not working I can usually write in the afternoons while my son is napping. Otherwise it's in the evenings while my husband is watching Star Trek, X-Files and Dr Who (which is every night). The thinking, planning and plotting gets done throughout the day Ė I have been known to walk past my own house on the way home from work because my mind is elsewhere.
  
Courttia NewlandNo. I get up in the morning and write for 3 hours, on my laptop, wherever I am.
  
Craig BaxterI donít like (the idea of) routines though I guess I must have them. I feel I need to ring the changes. At present Iím in a phase of sitting a laptop on a TV dinner tray and typing on the sofa but itís beginning to get a little stale. Iím going to have to change. The best time is the early hours of the morning when the rest of the family is asleep but this does tend to throw all the other more mundane routines (the school run, going to work) so itís only once in a while that I can indulge that proclivity.

  
Danny RhodesI try to do something towards my writing each and every day. When I can I try to write before work (I still have to workÖ) and then use other times of the day to manage the other things a writer needs to invest time in, looking for publicity opportunities, submissions, managing workshop arrangements etc.

I have an office in my home which is my writing place. I have a computer there. Often though Iíll write in notebooks and then go to the computer and type my work up. This means that the work I input into my computer is a second draft already.

  
Dawn FinchAll of the early drafts are by hand in notebooks. They are in random chunks written as scenes occur to me. I know how the book is going to pan out and so I donít start by working on it in order. When it comes to those wonderful splurges of writing I have a lovely comfy sofa and a shiny new laptop for that. My routine is to make a big pot of Earl Grey tea and just rush the words all out until my eyes dry up and the tea goes cold Ė then I open some wine and carry on!
I like to walk and if Iím stuck on something I will take a long walk, preferably at night, until the idea settles into something cohesive. I like to write at night too or in the very early hours. Iím a bit of an insomniac so that suits me.
A special place? I adore Cornwall and a great deal of my writing has been done there. A massive chunk of Brotherhood was written in Thomas Hardyís room at the Wellington Hotel in Boscastle. Cornwall is the most beautiful place on earth and never fails to inspire me.
  
Deborah Swift
I write in the mornings if possible, before I get chance to talk myself out of it! I write on the computer, but also have a lot of very scruffy notebooks with mad jottings scrawled on them in biro such as ďmake Grace more evil by chapter 4,Ē ďdonít forget to add more backstory to the drowning,Ē ďwhat did a bucket cost in 1660ĒÖ.
  
Diane SamuelsI have an office at home which is next to my younger sonís bedroom. I have a desk and lots of books in there and my iMac computer. My younger son has been on at me for about two years to let him have this room which is a bit bigger than his bedroom and for me to relocate to his room. I just love this room too much to move. My routine involves doing my admin, e mail, post etc first, meditating for twenty minutes to half an hour, writing for anything between three and five hours in any day. I tend to take the weekends off to be with my family.
  
Domenica De RosaI write whenever I can: when the kids are at school, when they are in bed, the odd ten minutes here and there.
  
Elizabeth BuchanI try and to be in my office early in the morning. It is a complete mess, with all my books piled around me, and I love it.
  
Elizabeth SpellerI get up at 6.00 ish and tend to write early in the day and then do research and so on later. I write in a restored shepherdís hut overlooking a Cotswold valley. It has a wood burning stove and, unfortunately, a very comfy built in bed.
  
Emilia di Girolamo My routine is to work hard. Unless I am at a script meeting or rehearsal I generally work Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and about 5 hours at the weekend. I used to only write at night but now I have too much writing to do and can't fit it into the dark hours! I always write on my PC - I don't do pen and paper because I can't write as fast as I can type and I generally write at speed.
  
Eva SalzmanSometimes another view in the same house helps. But if you think youíve twigged what works, then inevitably it wonít.
  
Fiona RobynIf I donít write first thing, Iím not likely to write at all Ė so I do my meditation and then go straight to my desk. I light a candle before I start Ė my writing friend Esther gave the candle holder to me.
  
Gary Davison9 Ė 11.30 every morning, not unless an emergency crops up. And there are plenty of those when my 2 year-old daughter is around. I have an office at home just for writing.
  
Gillian CrossI try to write for three hours very morning. I usually write in my office, because thatís where my computer is. It has a fine view of a brick wall. Very good because it isnít distracting.
  
Gillian McClureWhen Iím illustrating, music on radio 3 helps my concentration, but when Iím writing I need silence.
  
Gordon and WilliamsRG: In my study, with iTunes churning away, and with a low level of pandemonium in the rest of the house. Oh, and ample stocks of Gold Blend and Silk Cut Silver.

BW: I am never without my notebook and pen. I write every day, no matter where I am Ė all places are special when Iím writing.
  
Helen BlackTime for me is at a premium. My other half works a trillion hours a week so itís me who looks after our eight year old twins and the home. Also, until very recently, I worked the day job.
Basically, I get the kids to the work house and go for a walk with my friend. We do this every morning as itís Ď a good thing í and itís all that stands between me and global proportions.
When I get home I work. I wander round the house, dragging my lap top behind me, to find the warmest and least untidy spot. The dining room has a good temperature but is often the last resting place of the ironing pileÖ and a half built Lego battleshipÖand the Christmas decorationsÖ
The only thing I canít do without is solitude. When Iím writing, Iím conjuring a disturbing and frightening world Ė or I am if Iím doing my job properly Ė and to do that I have to inhabit it. I just canít do that with anyone else around.
  
Helen CastorAt my desk, upstairs at home. But if the lure of the internet gets too distracting, I take my steam-powered laptop down to the kitchen, or, if I really need to up the word-count, to my local library, without which She-Wolves still wouldnít be finished.
  
Helen McWilliamsI try to ensure that Iíve spent at least an hour a day contributing towards my writing projects or jotting down ideas. Home is the best place for my inspiration to flow.
  
Jae WatsonMonday is my main writing day when there is nothing and nobody to distract me. I write at home in a quiet room. I turn on the laptop as soon as my partner leaves the house; I then make a cup of tea and write for about an hour before grabbing some breakfast and another cup of tea. I work until one-ish, then break for lunch and maybe watch the news before continuing to work from two until six or seven. I tend to think in terms of sections of work rather than amount of words and like to complete a section or chapter before stopping. I start the next writing session by editing the previous section.
  
Jane ElmorI'm chaotic and am forever trying to enforce routines upon myself. I go mad with feelings of inadequacy and rage whenever I read how organised people are Ė getting up at five thirty and writing straight after a jog before taking the kids to school and going to a high-powered job. Especially if they also say they look forward to writing Ė I never do. (Who was it who said, 'Writing is easy Ė just sit at the blank page and bleed'?!) It's always a struggle for me to turn the computer on, although I'm fine once I get there (and feel a lot worse if I don't.) Fitting writing in where I can has often dictated my routine, depending on the job I'm doing at the time. I tried getting up at six to write before work once Ė lasted three days and after the initial smug euphoria extreme fatigue set in and I had a lie in instead. I currently have the temporary luxury of writing full time, which is better, as I try to treat it like going to work (although I do inexplicably find myself occasionally cleaning the oven or sanding a window-frame during office hours). I've tried writing in every room in the house, and blaming each one for 'not being right'. I've now chosen a room and am trying to make it my office and stick to it. It's got a great view, which I've read apparently isn't wise, but at least it stops me looking round at all the mess behind me.
  
Jane RogersMorning.
  
JemI have a writing hut at the bottom of the garden but itís too cold to go down there now and anyway Iíve got a laptop so I donít need to. We built it when the kids were younger as a place for me to escape, but now only two live at home and theyíre the ones that tend to do the escaping. I usually sit in front of the fire and write in the morning, finishing in time for Loose Women. I always do something every day even if itís only to read through what Iíve written and add twenty words. Even at the weekend. But I rarely write more than 1500 words in a day. Some great writer whose name escapes me for the moment, but it was definitely somebody who knew what he was talking about, said, ďWrite a thousand words a day and leave the rest for living.Ē Iím with him.
  
Jenn AshworthNo - although I prefer to do it at night, and alone - there are so many demands on my time these days that I can snatch a few minutes here and there. I'd love to go somewhere remote and cold and boring so I could get on with it. I prefer working in longhand first, although if it is going very well I can do it right onto the computer.
  
Jenny Eclair I write in a very small purple study in my house in Camberwell. I'm an urbanwriter, the idea of holing up and trying to write in the country appalls me.
  
Jill DawsonAt the risk of sounding very jammy indeed I have to say that my husband has designed and built for us a fabulous eco-house and my study is right at the top. Itís the most brilliant place to work, with views out over the Fens in three different directions. However, I did work on a computer in my bedroom in Hackney for the previous sixteen years so I feel I deserve it.
  
Jill McGiveringI tend to write anywhere I can, including in snatched hours on trains and planes and holidays. If I have the luxury of a whole day at home to write, I find I work best first thing in the morning in any quiet and comfortable corner of the house, with my laptop balanced on my knee.
  
Jim YoungerNo writing routines beyond keep at it day by day - although the first draft of High John was written in the downstairs loo while my infant son was having his lunchtime nap. I try to use spare chunks of time - lunch-break at work for example. If youíre starting out, I canít offer more than read a lot, and write a lot. Just keep it coming, and never, ever give up. As for planning, well I think itís important, but you must stay flexible - as Joyce said: ďIn the writing, good things will come.Ē Edit ruthlessly, again and again.
  
John MurrayI do a kind of modified office hours. About 9.30-2.30 five days a week. Anything more than that and it's counter productive. I never write at night and I never write at weekends. It's the old fashioned provincial grammar school mentality. And whenever I teach creative writing I always do a seminar session about work routine. The number of talented writers you meet who have next to no work discipline and are therefore never going to finish a book is an eye-opener.

I write at my desk and nowhere else. I can't write away from home and when I go on holiday I never take work.

  
John RitchieI usually write in my head. That is to say I compose and structure my story mentally before I commit it to paper, or more properly my computerís memory. I have found this works best for me. I cannot work with written notes, I know, I have tried. I am hopelessly ill disciplined as a writer, so I will probably never make my fortune.

  
Jon HaylettI live on the remote and beautiful west coast of Scotland so I work when itís raining, which gives me plenty of time to write. Iím also fortunate that my study has a 25-mile view down the Sound of Mull to Tobermory, Ben More and Ben Talla.
  
Jonathan WolfmanI used to do my best work through the night, now itís early in the morning.
  
Josa YoungI had a shed, and I hope to have another soon. Eight hour working days are what I crave for writing fiction.
  
Julia BellEvery morning when I get out of bed I make a strong coffee and write for as long as I can before I do anything else. Usually I write in the mornings and then attend to Birkbeck business in the afternoons & evenings.
  
Julia CopusAt the moment I write at the dining room table Ė an long, ancient oak thing that has an inscription carved into its side: ĎMade from the roof of St Georgeís Chapel, c. 1480, Windsorí! Itís the most expensive piece of furniture I own. I got it in a moment of madness from a local auction, and Iím assuming itís genuineÖ I write there, always in the same chair next to the window. I do also try writing in cafťs, especially if Iím suffering from cabin fever, but that doesnít always go to plan. It depends a lot on the other customers!
  
Kal BonnerI don't really have a routine, although I do tend to do rewrites, reading and editing during the day and new stuff at night. My only requirement is total silence.
  
Kate LongWhen I worked full time as a teacher and had two children under four I learnt to write anywhere and in any odd moments that came my way. Nowadays my routine is that I write between school runs, at the computer everyone else uses, so my day often begins with the shifting of Lego pieces or car magazines, or with a hunt for pens.
  
Kate TymI have three work days a week when my youngest daughter is at nursery (from September when she starts school it will be five Ė hurrah!). I work in my office, which is a summer-house-come-shed-type-thing in my garden. I LOVE it out there. My children are not allowed in Mummyís office without written permission, in triplicate, which they are never granted. I have no real routine, thereís always loads to do. But, generally, if thereís something Iím going to earn money for Ė ie a wedding poem Ė Iíll do that first.
  
Kathryn Haig I wish I did have a routine. I would have written more books
  
Kia AbdullahI have become much more disciplined with the second novel. The process of writing Life, Love and Assimilation was actually quite haphazard; I wrote when and where I had the time. For the second novel, I write in the evenings and only at home. It is a far more organised routine.
  
Kit PeelFor the book, I get up and put in 1000 words a day and try to get that done by early afternoon, then go and forget about it until evening. I find evening better for working on the other stuff, but itís not a pre-requisite. I like sitting at a table in front of a window.
  
Laura WatsonI try and treat it like a 9-5 job but Iím definitely most creative in the morning. I have an office with a desk and imac which I love! But I also like writing in long-hand sometimes in my sunny front room.
  
Lee JacksonWheneverís feasible Ė generally Thursdays and Fridays in my case, but thatís just how my week works out, not some perverse ritual honouring Thor and Frigg. No special place Ė I have a study, inconveniently situated on the ground floor, opposite a busy intersection in Stoke Newington. I need to get double-glazing.
  
Lola JayeIn my fantasies, itís a sunny retreat somewhere in Barbados, a nice man providing me with grenadine based drinks every hour as I type at a window overlooking the sea. In reality I write in my sitting room with the volume down on my television or switched off. If I have a full day (i.e. weekend) I must do at least four hours Ė thatís a little obsession of mine.

If I am just editing, then sometimes I have a Ďtheme songí on CD locked on Repeat. Itís usually a piece of music that has something to do with the main character Ė i.e. their favourite song. It all helps.
  
Long Barn BooksNope. Anywhere, anytime. Sometimes pen and paper, sometimes laptop, night, morning Ė whenever.
  
A L BerridgeLike a lot of writers I work best just after sleep and worst just after eating, so I basically divide my day into two. I work the mornings, sleep after lunch, then work right through to the small hours.

I have a room officially designated as mine, but am gradually taking over the whole house. I need a big enough table for a huge street map of 17th century Paris, so obviously I have to have the dining room too. Then there are those rapiers I use for trying out fencing moves, so I need to keep those in the sitting room, then there are all the research books I donít have room for, so I need the book case on the landing as well, and....

  
Lucy McCarraherI have a lovely study at the end of our house, with a bay window looking out over the garden and then fields down to the village church which is next to the school my daughters go to. I write at my fatherís old desk and Iím surrounded by my books, piles of papers Ė my ďresearchĒ and source material Ė photos of family, paintings and pictures which have been part of my life since childhood.

Weekdays in term time, I start writing when the children are at school and the dog walked (which is always a good time for thinking things through) Ė generally about 10am. I work through with maybe a short break for lunch (perhaps catching ďNeighboursĒ), until 3pm, when itís school pick up time. Then itís all about the girls until theyíre in bed. As my husband works away during the week at the moment, I go back to my desk at about 8.30pm (hopefully having watched ďEastendersĒ) and work through till 11, 12 or later. In some ways this is my best working time when everythingís quiet and my characters can come alive.

As a self-employed consultant, Iíve learned to be very disciplined about using my time, so I donít find it difficult at all. And as I enjoy writing more than almost anything else, itís no sacrifice to spend my evenings at the PC. Iíd only fall asleep on the sofa watching ďBig BrotherĒ or something like that if I didnít.
  
Luisa PlajaOoh, that sounds nice! I'd love that. No, I write wherever and whenever I can, which is mostly at my desk, in small bursts of time and well into the night. I tend to write to music, though Ė partly so that I can send out "headphones on, do not disturb" signals to everyone including myself. It doesn't usually work for long, but I can't really blame my children (or not all the time, anyway!) I'm quite capable of getting disturbed all by myself.
  
Malcolm BurgessAvoidance, emails, Ebay then just doing it. I write at a boring desk in a nineteen eighties extension Ė I wish I could make this sound a bit more Bloomsbury.
  
Maria McCarthyI have Ďdaytime daysí when I write during the day and take the evening off, and Ďnighttime daysí when I bunk off during the day and then work in the evening (often late into the night). I love the flexibility.
  
Mark BoothIím one of those people who wait until their mind is in the right place. This usually happens when Iím looking for some cathartic release from my day job. I can write from cold, but itís never as much fun.
  
Mark Liam PiggottMy tiny office in our house, all my books and music around me.
  
Matt LynnI do one thousand words a day minimum, preferably first thing in the morning. Itís crucial to be disciplined. Stick to the routine regardless of whether it is going well or badly.
  
Meg PeacockeI donít have a recognisable routine, but poems often start while Iím walking or digging or splitting logs Ė that kind of steady physical activity, which seems to override the busy part of my brain. A while back I put up a shed in a wood I planted twenty years ago, and I imagined I would write there; but I donít, I just sit.
  
Michael RidpathI always write every morning. I am lucky in that I have a study at home to write in. I often go for a short walk in the middle of the morning to let the ideas I am writing about settle. I set myself a minimum of 1,000 words a day and aim for an average of 2,000. I stop at 3,000.
  
Michael Rosen InterviewNo, Iím not that kind of writer unless you were to say that I write all the time. Iím one of those infuriating people who spend a lot of time trying to figure out the next thing I want to write, might write, could write. I scribble things down on scraps of paper, or in my diary. Sometimes I organise these scribbles into a list on a file in my documents file on my computer. Sometimes Iíll go straight to the computer and turn the note into a poem, an article, a text for a picture book, or whatever. Our main computer sits right in the middle of our main living space and sometimes I can write with everything going on around me. ĎEverythingí might mean our three year old doing her thing, my sixteen year old doing his thing, my wife doing her thing and anyone else who happens to have drifted in. I try not to do this all the time, but it happens. Favourite times, though, are first thing in the morning before anyoneís got up and last thing at night after everyoneís gone to bed. I also have an office in a block of workshops, and I go there if there is a piece of long writing to do, like a long script for radio, or a story, or something that needs some referencing.
  
Michelene WandorI write at home. At my desk. Sometimes in the library. I think.
  
Michelle HarrisonI wish I did have more of a routine Ė at the moment itís just whenever I get time, which is limited to evenings and weekends what with a full-time job. Iím lucky enough to have a small library in my workplace though, which has been great for some lunchtime writing sessions recently. At home I use the dining area of my flat to write in. Iíve just bought a new writing desk and have my Ďinspiration boardí Ė pictures, cuttings and cards Ė above it, and a comfy daybed to lounge on for when Iím reading.
  
Milly JohnsonI start working as soon as I have done the school run and carry on until Iím back on the school run at home-time Ė with a 20 minute break, if that, for lunch. I converted one of the front bedrooms into a lovely spacious office and bought a huge second hand desk from eBay. The walls are covered with bees Ė mad but lovely. I work surrounded by cats, who (annoyingly) like the desk as much as I do, and my big sleepy dog.
  
Neil ForsythGenerally, I try to write until 1pm and then donít look at it again until the next morning. But in reality I go through routines all the time. They all work, just not for very long.
  
Neil J HartI set aside time for writing. Iím no good at the Ďwhen inspiration strikesí approach. If something grabs me I write it down in the book but I set aside blocks of time for writing and treat it much like a job that needs finishing. I think that if you treat it as a hobby itíll just get stacked further down the list of things to do. I have no real special places to write although long walks to think ideas / scenes through always help to make things clearer.
  
Neil NixonIíve been bringing up kids and fitting the writing around other work for years. My Ďroutineí involves grabbing what time I can, sticking some decent music on in the background and getting down to work.
  
Nick GriffithsYes. I wake up in the morning, hit the Mac in my office, faff around for ages and finally start writing at around 3pm, feeling guilty.
  
Nick StaffordI prefer facing the blank page in the morning, but I can rewrite at any time of day and night.
  
Nicky SingerSchool hours. Take youngest child to school, walk dog, eat breakfast (in that order), go to desk, write. Get up at school pick-up time. Repeat. I am anally retentive about my notebook though. Before I start typing I work in pencil (2B) in a spiral-bound red Silvine notebook. When Silvine changed the front covers of their notebooks about 5 years ago, I had near apoplexy. I couldnít write in these books, could I? But I did, and do. If this company ever go bankrupt, Iím scuppered.
  
Nik PerringMy tiny, messy, but very cosy office.

I try to keep to office hours when I can but itís not unusual for me to go way into the evening.
  
Patrick DillonFitting in writing around my architectural career and family makes routine pretty hard to achieve. I tend to get the flow started in my head and memorise a long passage. Once it goes down on the computer, the flow usually keeps going.
  
Paul ReedI sometimes sit on the end of my bed and work with a cuppa and a smoke! This can lead to hotrocks on the sheets though! I like to write at night when there's no distractions. I start around midnight and work right through the night. It's murder on the social life.
  
Peter RobertsonNo, I have no routine as such. Letís say that I am an interstitial writer in the sense that I will write whenever I can snatch some time from the vortex. I write at home and I am lucky that my apartment in Buenos Aires is quietóat least by the standard of this cacophonous metropolis-- and private. As a result, I can really get down to the work in hand. Likewise, when I spend time in Madrid, where I also live, I always rent apartments that are quiet.
  
Preethi NairNone though I do love writing in the Yorkshire Dales.
  
Rebecca ConnellI would love to have a room of my own in which to write, but sadly the practicalities of living in a one-bed flat rather put paid to that! I generally write on my laptop in bed. I find it easier to concentrate when Iím warm and cosy, and when there are no distractions such as television, music or the internet. I write best in the mornings, and I currently work part-time, so on my days off I wake up at about 8am and write in bed until midday. After lunch, Iím not so productive! Looking to the future, I can imagine that Iíll have my own study, with a log fire, a comfortable sofa or armchair, and a ready supply of chocolate. I think Iíll be sorted then.
  
Rebecca StrongAs I work full time and write in my spare time, I canít afford the luxury of a writing routine. I also work on a laptop, so the place of writing tends to change. I like the idea of not being tied down to one place or regular timeslot though, because itís good to let your imagination wander.
  
Ron MorgansMy Mac computer overlooks the Montgo mountain. I share it with a black cat named Buns. The mountain is shaped like the head of an elephant, which is what the locals call it. I start at 7.00am when the sun come up. When itís time for lunch Buns sits on the keyboard to stop me.
  
Rosy BarnesI would love to have a writing routine that helped me churn out novels like some sort of crazy novel-churning machine. But in reality I get very obsessive for periods of time, and thenÖnothing. Which is very frustrating.

I write in a yellow room. I paint a room yellow wherever I go. I find it lifts my mood and cons me - during the depths of a dark Edinburgh winter - into thinking it might be sunny outside. I paint there too.
  
Rosy ThorntonI always write something every day, even if itís only a few sentences at bedtime. That way the story keeps bubbling along in the old subconscious (or thatís what I hope, anyway). Other than that self-imposed Ďruleí I just snatch what time I can between a full-time job and two kids (now 7 and 10). Between 6 and 7 a.m., after Iíve made the packed lunches and taken the dogs out and before I get the kids up, is probably my most productive time. (Yes, I admit it, I am a nutter.)

My desk is (bizarrely enough) inside an inglenook fireplace. Perhaps I should add, not one in which we actually have fires.
  
Sally NichollsI try to do writing in the afternoons after work, but I donít worry too much if I donít manage it. Mondays and Thursdays are my Ďwriting daysí when I have to write 1,000 words. If I procrastinate in the morning, that means I have to finish in the evening. If Iím around in the weekends Iíll write then too, but weekends often get eaten up with other commitments.

I find I work best if I write in lots of different places. Some of the best bits of my last book, I wrote in a field in Goathland! Iím also a big fan of writing in coffee shops or with friends. I have a friend who Iíll make Ďwriting datesí with, and Iíll often write while my boyfriend is reading. I write on a laptop, and I much prefer sofas to desks.

  
Sally ZigmondRoutine? You must be joking! I am the most chaotic person. I do things when I feel they need doing or when I feel like it! Having said that, I find I write best in the mornings. My brain starts to hurt by the afternoon. I donít have a Ďspecial placeí to write. I have a desk with a PC and a lovely view if I turn to the left. If Iím writing longhand away from home I can work anywhere that has plenty of light.
  
Sara MaitlandI am building a little house on a moor. It is designed for a solitary writer to live in. I hope it will be both routine and special. Come back next year for an up-date.
  
Sarah SalwayMy resolution for 2011 is to start one! At the moment I set my alarm early and read for an hour in bed, but come Jan 1st I shall spring up with enthusiasm and go straight to the computer. Thatís the idea anyway.
  
Sarah StovellI write on my laptop in bed. It keeps the whole thing feeling like a luxury instead of a chore. I donít write every day cos I have to go to work, but on my writing days, the first thing I do when I wake up is turn on the computer, and I donít get out of bed until Iíve written 500 words. (My partner brings me my first cup of tea.)
  
Shahrukh HusainGenerally my desk in my study which overlooks the garden and a forsythia where a family of finches lives. Lately, though, Iíve written well on my laptop, away from home, producing prodigious numbers of words far from the madding crowd, or rather door and phone bells. My routine keeps changing. At the moment itís mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Used to be morning and I can frequently write all day.
  
Shelley WeinerI write best early in the morning Ė have no problem getting up and at my desk by 5.30 Ė 6 a.m. Itís quiet and thereís a freshness about a new day, a new start. I always try and leave a writing session with a few notes about what Iím going to do next, which avoids the terror of the empty page.
  
ShikaI write whenever I can find the space to spark up my laptop. I once wrote a quick chapter whilst I was in a hospital waiting room waiting to have my stress levels checked out; Iíve written in taxis on the way back to the office after landing at Heathrow airport and every Friday I squeeze myself into a corner just outside my daughterís drama school staff room and type until the class is over.

  
Sion Scott-WilsonI travel a great deal. SIF was written in Singapore, New Zealand and
Hong Kong. I have a laptop. (Smashed two)
  
Smith BrowneNo time for a routine. I snatch as I can and sleep little. My computer screen is quite special, and it is always on. I am one of those odd writers who actually finds it inspirational to compose directly onto the screen. I am very precious about my Iiyama 45.7cm TFT LCD Monitor and find it hard to "see" my way to the page with anything else. I often sleep next to it, to the chagrin of my husband.
  
Sol B RiverI wish I did. I'm not very good at the discipline of getting up and writing for a certain number of hours and then stopping. I write when I write, so it could be three lines or however many pages. I am always aware of deadlines so the work usually balances out in regard to timescale.
  
Stella DuffyI wish. A perfect day would be going for a walk in the morning, then chanting (I've been practising Buddhism for 17 years), then doing Ďbusinessí Ė letters, emails etc, stuff like this, maybe a bit of writing, editing what I did the day before, lunch, nap, then the proper writing, getting on with the word count, especially between 4pm & 7pm when I write Ďbestí. Then dinner & time with the wife. Mostly though that never happens. I get an acting job or I have too much business or I email all day or I get caught up in some research reading Ö and write nothing at all. I do try to get about three hours proper writing work in a day though. (Thatís almost always weekends as well. And quite often holidays Ė which I donít really do anyway.) And I mean proper writing Ė not staring into space or drinking coffee and bemoaning my lack of inspiration! I write in an office in my house. It's tidy, not particularly special. My partner is also a writer. Neither of us are capable of writing in cafes or bars or bookshops or any of those other places I often see people working in. I need quiet and time alone.
  
Steve FeaseyI write at a big oak table in my living room. This has the advantage of being able to take the huge amount of detritus that I seem to accumulate around me during my writing day, but has the disadvantage of having to be cleared down every night before my wife comes home from work. I write best during the day; probably between 10am and 2pm.
  
Steven HagueI work from my study overlooking my back garden, which in turn backs onto some woodland, so I constantly have to fight the urge to watch squirrels playing on the lawn. As for my routine, I start work somewhere between nine and ten a.m. and keep going until Iíve got at least a thousand new words down on the page. A thousand words is the absolute bare minimum Ė Iím really aiming for fifteen hundred plus. I also take a break or two to walk my dog Ė Murphy the chocolate Labrador Ė which I find gives me time and space to think through any plot or characterisation issues.
  
Tania HershmanHmm. In the past few months I have been sharing goals with a Writing Buddy that someone fixed me up with. We live in different countries, so it is all online, but once a week we send each other a progress report and a list of what we hope to achieve for the coming week, and it has helped me immensely. We also do online writing sessions together when we can. I started setting aside time for writing, but now I find that I don't need to, I just want to write and do writing-related things as much as possible. As for the place, we are in the process of building me a writing shed in our small garden. Our flat is open-plan, it doesn't have enough doors, and we both work from home, so a shed seems the perfect answer. In the meantime, I have a small desk in the corner of the bedroom, and I also like to go and sit in local cafťs and write, the white noise in the background seems to help me focus.
  
Tara HylandI write while my husband is at work (he leaves at seven and gets back at seven), and I work from our second bedroom. But weíre selling our flat now, and Iím hoping to have my own study in our next place! It would be nice to have a huge bookcase Ė at the moment most of my books are in drawers under the bed!
  
Tim LottI have an office. I usually write 1-2 hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon.
  
Tony McGowanI have a grotty room, made grottier by my slovenly habits. I try to write a thousand words a day. I used to find it easy to do that. Now I find it quite hard. Every couple of years I move to a different room. That usually helps me, for a while. I also occasionally go to work in the British Library. Itís comfortable and vaguely scholarly, but the beautiful Italian postgraduate students can be a distraction ...

  
Tracy BuchananI tend to write in my conservatory, I love the way the seasons are reflected there, light flooding through during the summer, rain pitter-pattering on the roof in the winter. You can see my writing space, even interact with it, on ThingLink. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/540874539177869313
  
Trilby KentAs I donít have a laptop Iím currently restricted to the PC in my study at home. Fortunately, Iím quite happy there Ė most of the time. We live in northwest London, and my window overlooks a jumble of city gardens belonging to the houses behind ours. Itís a bit like Rear Window, watching all those different lives unfolding alongside each other. I keep some favourite books nearby, as well as various odds and ends (pictures, maps, found objects, etc) for inspiration and sentimental value. I occasionally manage to start writing first thing in the morning, but more often it takes me until the late afternoon/early evening to hit my stride Ė before then I find Iím too distracted by admin and other jobs to settle.
  
Vanessa CurtisI live in the countryside and write at the back of the house upstairs in my study, typing straight onto the pc. The study looks out over long green gardens studded with trees and I share my desk with a cat who blocks the entire screen so that she can get the best vantage point to watch next doorís chickens and rabbit run around the garden. I touch-type, peering over her furry bottom from time to time.
  
Vanessa GebbieNo. I am far too chaotic. I write in my study, but my son uses my computer for Runescape, whenever he can (a game). I give up, gracelessly.
  
William ColesIf I'm really in flow with a book, then I try to have a routine - which means getting into work at about 9.30am, 10 o'clock, reading the Metro newspaper for 15 minutes which is all the prevarication I allow myself, and then, as my coffee goes stone cold, I dive right in, and try not to stop until I've written 2,000 words. If I do stop, it's difficult to pick up speed again.

And actually, I do have a very special place to write: Caffe Nero, Rose Street, Edinburgh. It's where I wrote the whole of The Well-Tempered Clavier. I have about four or five other cafes in town that are regular haunts, including Renroc and a couple of Starbucks, but Caffe Nero is my first love, and where they truly serve the best coffee in town. Some people like to write in perfect silence in their little garrets, but I love noisy cafes which have the sort of white noise of a buzzing newsroom.
  
William Sutton
Iíve just moved back from abroad, so Iím only now establishing a new routine. I try to split up the day: fresh writing early for as long as I can keep going, rewriting /redrafting /plotting later, sleepy research in the afternoons. I always try to keep tomorrow free for writing.
  
Zoe Fairbairns Mornings are best for me. If I'm working on a project that absorbs me, I have no problem getting up at 6am, 5am or even earlier. I'll then work till about one, possibly taking a break at around 10 to go out to a local coffee shop where I sometimes meet up with some other local writers for a cappuccino and a natter. Then I go back home and carry on writing till about one, but not after that. I have an attic room with two desks, a computer, lots of bookshelves, a comfortable armchair and, over the window, an Aborigine dream catcher which was given to me by an Australian poet.
  
Zoe LambertMy bed. I like to get up early and write on my laptop in bed with a coffee.