W1 -The life of a writer

Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday. I’m back to work today as the children have gone back to school. The house is so quiet and I won’t lie, the sound of silence is beautiful. My head is buzzing with words, I am so excited to be back to work! Seriously, best feeling ever.

To kick of 2016, I thought I’d share with you each week, what I’m working on. I teach creative writing and I’m often asked what my writing week is like and how do I structure my time. Every week is different, which is one of the things I adore about my job. Most of you know, that it’s not just writing novels for me. I juggle that with writing features for newspapers and magazines, blog content, my TV work on Midday & radio guest slots, motivational speaking and what sometimes feels like relentless promo work. It’s a necessary evil these days though.

I write Monday to Friday, every morning while the kids are in school. We are early risers, by 7am and between then and 9am, it’s a frenzy of dressing and washing kids, packing lunches, housework & laundry. Once the kids and Roger are gone, I close the doors on all rooms, ignoring whatever horrors they might hold and lock myself away in my writing room. Right now, I know that the washing machine needs to be unloaded, there is some washing up to be done from breakfast and the kids bedrooms are in a state. But I can do all that when the kids are home.

Just like my husband when he walked out the door this morning to go to work, leaving behind the chores, I have to do the same thing. My commute may be shorter to our living room which doubles as my writing room, but once I’m in there, I have to close my mind to all domestic commitments and get to work.  Kids are home at 2pm, so I don’t have much time.

The more I do during these hours, the less I have to do in the evenings when the kids are in bed.

Before I write a single word, first thing I must do is update my diary for the coming week. I always place any new projects/features in my diary, both on the day it comes in and also the day that it’s due by. There’s nothing more satisfying for me, than to tick off an item once it’s completed. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget.

So, this week, I have the following on :-

  1. Complete the third round of edits for my fourth book – as yet untitled. This will be published in trade paperback in Ireland on 30th June 2016 and in paperback on 19th November 2016 in UK & Ireland. This stage of editing is more about drilling down into the detail, really ensuring that each part pushes the story forward, and that I have squeezed every ounce of emotion from each of my characters.  I plan on getting these finished by Monday 10th January. As this is a short week, I’m likely to have to work in the evenings when the kids are in bed.
  2. As soon as book 4 is sent to my publisher – Harper Fiction – I need to start working on book 5, which is due end June. Right now, I’m considering different plot lines in my head. Thinking through scenarios and scribbling down ideas into my journal. I always have an ‘ideas journal’ close to hand and this years one, already has pages of possibilities listed. Before I start, I like to have a good sense of the main characters. For weeks now I’ve been playing around with them in my head, asking myself what would they do in different situations. By placing them in real life situations, I get a feel for what makes them tick, which helps me ensure that the characters are real and readers can identify with them.
  3. I need to schedule a video conference with my agent – Tracy Brennan, to discuss book 5 and have a general catch up.
  4. Admin- Every Time A Bell Rings is still in its infancy, book wise, so there is still work to be done on promoting it. I try to limit social media to one hour each morning and one hour each evening. It’s a time suck and if I’m not careful I’ll loose hours and not have a word written. But I love interacting with readers and do my very best to answer every single comment someone makes. Right now, I’m getting quite a lot of emails/pm’s from readers and they are a priority for me to answer. Yesterday, I had several and one of them, made me quite emotional. Hearing some of the real life stories that readers share with me, about their own ‘Belle’ moments, is very special. I also need to do some admin on Facebook/Twitter/Website – updating bio’s, cover art, profile pics etc. I had been pushing the 12daysofkindle sale, but now that’s over I need to replace content.
  5. I have a blog post to write for Novelicious – I’ve been asked to write a letter to an author, dead or alive, that has greatly influenced me. Deciding who to chose is quite difficult as there are more than one that made a huge impact. I’m pretty certain who my letter will go to though, one name keeps buzzing in my head ….
  6. I am a committee member of Focal – Wexford Literary Festival and one of my roles is to oversea the bookings of speakers at the festival each year. We’ve a meeting on Thursday evening to sort out themes/dates so that I can start inviting speakers to take part. It’s a wonderful festival and I’m very proud to be part of it.

So that’s my week planned out. Short though it is, I’ve got a lot to squeeze into it! On Monday I’ll be back with W2 and hopefully I’ll have ticked off quite a few items from this list. Have a great week everyone, keep in touch if you are writing yourself. I’d love to hear how your week pans out.

Carmel x





  1. Dear Maeve…………. 🙂

  2. Pingback: W4 – Life of a Writer | Carmel Harrington Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.