Elizabeth Chadwick is such an approachable and amazing author- I'm so grateful and especially delighted that she agreed to share with us, here at EBJ- History Salon, what a typical week is like for this grand author. Without further ado, here is her very interesting post! Read on!
Thank you so much for inviting me to talk on your blog and for asking me about a typical week in my writing life.
I have been writing novels since I was 15 years old and what began as stories to entertain myself turned into a full time career. Over the span of a few decades (!) my typical days have changed. When I started out on my professional career, I was a stay at home mother with two small children and I had to arrange my writing time around them. Indeed, while writing my first novel THE WILD HUNT, my desk was in the children’s playroom and I had to do my best to keep one eye on my little darlings while at the same time trying to write without being too distracted! At that time in the early nineties my career was also part time and not as international as it has become now.
Since then my sons have grown up and left home. The eldest has a child of his own and my husband who is early retired, looks after her two days a week. She’s two and a half and a great kid, but all the same a toddler with all that entails! We also have 3 lively dogs. Jack and Pip are almost 3 and Bill at the time of writing this is 7 weeks old.
So what is a typical writing week nowadays? I confess to being an extreme multi-tasker. You should also know that I write seven days a week most weeks of the year, and this is just to keep up with the schedule. Even on a week’s holiday I will have either my laptop or at least a pad and paper with me.My lovely USA publisher Sourcebooks keeps me very busy as do my UK publishers and I sometimes find myself working on several different novels at once to prepare them for the readers. I tweaked and tightened Shadows and Strongholds for the USA, because I had the chance to overhaul the manuscript, and when that happens, I believe an author should seize the opportunity!
Anyway, this is how the weekly schedule goes:
9.00 amGet up and dressed. Drink a mug of tea, greet the dogs, feed the birds in the garden and have breakfast with my husband. This will involve sitting at the table and each of was reading our leisure books while eating our porridge or toast or fruit.
10.am. While my husband walks the dogs, I log on to my computer. I check my e-mails, twitter and Facebook and leave comments as appropriate. Zoning in on Facebook, I scan and post a daily book from my extensive reference shelves. I post the daily itinerary of King John for the year 1205 (an ongoing project to chart his progress round England) and I post a research snippet about the Middle Ages, usually several paragraphs long. I then copy and paste the research snippet to my blog Living The History.
11.30pm. My husband will have returned from the dog walk and he makes me coffee bless him. Cappuccino with a chocolate biscuit on the side is my favourite. I now open up my work in progress document and begin work. The opening sentence is posted to Facebook for the readers. Keeping an eye on e-mail and twitter, I then work on the novel for a couple of hours.
1.30pm. Lunch break. Soup, or a sandwich, or cheese on toast, followed by a yogurt and piece of fruit. More reading or chat with my husband, and I make a fuss of the dogs.
2.30pm Resume work, first checking e-mails, face-book and twitter and replying and posting as necessary.
4pm Tea-break. I usually go and make the tea this time and have a potter around the house or garden and chat to my husband.
4.30pm Work on the novel
5.20pm Another tea break, a working one this time.
6.00 pm Break off to cook the evening meal. I do all the cooking. My husband does the housework, gardening (we grow as much of our own fruit and vegetables as we are able) and he walks the dogs. Tonight we had roast chicken, roast potatoes and assorted vegetables followed by apple pie.
8pm Walk the dogs round the fields or the village with my husband
9pm Back to work. Either continue with the WIP if I haven’t finished the quota, or if I have, I will do things like research online, catch up with owing e-mails and do general admin – or write a blog post such as this one!
11-11.30pm. Finish work. Go and join husband and watch a film or documentary on TV
1am – head to bed and read for three quarters of an hour or so.
1.45-2am lights out.
Tuesday: Same as Monday except that my husband and I play darts in the evening for a mixed darts team at a traditional pub in inner city Nottingham. It’s a very different sort of life to my writerly one and makes a refreshing change.
Wednesday. Same as Monday except that we go and get our grocery shopping done in the afternoon with the two year old in tow.
Thursday. Same as Monday except that I see my best girlfriend for a chat in the afternoon and go straight from there to the gym.
Friday. Same as Monday
Saturday. We go to the gym after breakfast. Otherwise same as Monday. If I don’t get to the gym, then I go for a longish dog walk in the afternoon and take my camera. I love taking photos.
Sunday. Same as Monday, except that I’ll often go for a walk on Sunday afternoon, and once a month I’ll do a whole lot of cake baking for the freezer.
The above is the base line routine. This gets broken by going out to give talks round the country or trips to London for events, and of course family gatherings, which are always a nice change from the routine. It’s a very busy life but I enjoy it, and I know how fortunate I am!
Great Post! Thank you so much Elizabeth for making us feel part of your week:) I'll be thinking of you during similar tea break times!
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