The alarm clock goes off. 5.30 a.m. I really need another 10 more minutes of sleep (well at least a couple more hours to be honest). I struggle to peep open my eyes and not to fall back into slumber again. Somehow, I loosen myself from the warm bed covers and reach for my housecoat as I fumble to put my slippers on in the dark. I make my way down the dark corridor and amaze myself on a daily basis that, up until now at least, I manage to make my way down the darkened stairs in my sleep-like trance without tripping and landing headfirst on the marble floor (carpet would at least cushion my landing, but I live in Southern Spain where you only have a carpet on the floor if it’s red and have royalty coming).
I plug in my laptop and as I wait for it to boot-up, I make myself a steaming hot coffee. By the time I sit down at my desk (well, dining room table, to be precise) I’m actually wide awake and looking forward to an hour and a half of writing time in the silence of early morning when everyone (at least in my household) is still sleeping. Unless it’s the weekend, of course, and my two children are also wide awake, ironic really when it’s mission impossible to get them out of bed on school days. Weekends they have this boundless energy from the crack of dawn.
In this early morning stillness, I usually manage to get out about 600 words or so. Not much, but enough. Every so often, I have to use this time not only for my WIP but to deal with marketing work or webpage up-dates / blogs etc. You have to squeeze in the publicity train somehow, which for me, and I imagine for most writers, is actually harder and certainly less enjoyable than the actual storytelling). After the calm of writing until 7 a.m. in the quiet of early dawn, madness sets in. It’s like as if a bugle call goes off and it’s a frantic rush to get the kids up, breakfast eaten, faces washed, school clothes on, hair and teeth brushed, lunch boxes packed, at the same time getting myself ready for work.
Car keys: check…
House keys: check….
And it’s go, go, go! My morning school runs leave me more exhausted than marathon training (and I’ve got a degree in sports science from Loughborough University, so I know what I’m talking about). I rock up to work (hair usually all askew) and flop at my desk totally wiped out and it’s not even 8.30 a.m.
Bizarre as it sounds, I actually unwind at work. There’s something nice about the routine of office work. The fact that I work in one of the oldest wineries in Spain, almost 300 years old, has nothing to do with it! Romantic as it sounds, it’s work. Trying the new vintages as part of the job has nothing to do with it either! Anyway, the “Angel’s share”(wine fumes) are enough to get me tipsy by 10.00 a.m., and see me happily through the rest of the day.
I leave the office at 3.00 p.m. and again it’s this mad rush to get to the kids’ school and pick them up. The school entrance is on a steep slope and I somehow find acrobatic skills that I never realised I possessed, equivalent to tightrope walking, as I make my way down this steep slope in break neck heels on a daily basis (not bad considering the “Angel’s share” I’ve been inhaling all morning). It doesn’t matter what time I turn up, my kids want more play time in the school playground, so I chit chat with some of the other mums and dads while I negotiate the play “time” with my children (negotiation skills that are now so perfected I think I could add them to my C.V in case Scotland Yard are in need of them).
Kids finally shuttled into the car I drive home (risking police controls and blowing positive on the alcoholic test, and then trying to convince the boys in blue that it’s just “Angel’s share,” which would be a bit like how The Virgin Mary must have felt when telling hubby Joseph about the Holy Spirit).
Lunch for me is at 4pm, bit late, but my body clock is now used to the late feed, although I’m still adapting it to eating and getting the kids to start their homework at the same time, a bit like juggling sharp knives. The longer the kids take to settle down and concentrate on their work, the more likely I am to burn my lunch and have to eat porridge or something (not that you would eat porridge in Southern Spain when the temperature doesn’t drop below 30ºC until late October. You’d have a good chance of breaking out in a heat rash).
Burnt lunch: check…
And it’s off to afternoon activities. It’s tennis in our household (I was, after all, born and brought up in Wimbledon…there could be no other sport).
(*This is when I try to fit in some social media activity, get a tweet in, a Facebook up-date, like other posts etc., but I’m usually just in a trance at watching my kids have fun on the courts and more often than not, wishing for time to stand still).
Bedtime…once again my negotiating skills come back into play. It’s like “bedtime” is a new concept that I invent every night as it’s always met by looks of astonishment from my two kids, as if to say: “What do you mean?”
Negotiation ends with a bedtime story (currently Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
I then try to continue the evening with a grown-up conversation with my hubby, but I’m usually out for the count before 10.00 p.m.….. “zzzzz”