They’re in constant competition. Sofa, cup of tea, book, is my default position. I already get up an hour earlier to shoehorn some more reading time into my day and I often sit up with a book late into the night. But a serious writing addiction requires serious amounts of time and commitment, and it’s a daily struggle to achieve a balance. Lunch hours become ten minute breaks, the rest of the time spent scribbling plotlines or mulling over new characters.
I snatch odd minutes here and there in the evenings. It’s true what everyone says: foregoing an hour of television every night means I’ll have a substantial piece of work by the end of the year. It’s not easy, summoning the muse when the moment dictates, but it’s a skill I’m learning. If I’m not making any progress with the novel I’ll spend the time exercising my writing muscles in a different direction, like a short story.
But back to the conundrum: we writers must read, read, read to hone our skills. How can we hope to write with style, elegance and panache if we haven’t studied the masters of the craft?