I guess everyone has their own favourite time during the day to try and get their thoughts in order, whether that’s in the shower, or travelling to work, or lying in bed waiting for the alarm clock to go off. Well, as an author, the best time for me to think is during my morning run.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I actually hate running and only started doing it at the age of 47 because it was a very good way to de-stress before operating. (You may remember that my other job is as an eye surgeon, which is an occupation that doesn’t lend itself to getting uptight or twitchy!). However, I’ve now got so used to the idea of pushing five kilometres before breakfast that I do sort of miss it when I can’t run.
And there’s no doubt it does give me a great opportunity to ponder about writing – after all there’s nothing else to do for half an hour except keep my feet moving. I can mull over the chapter I was working on the night before: did it come together like I wanted? What about the way that Beau Daurelle reacts to being arrested – is that really true to character? (Little teaser there for The Drivers and the Driven, still on target for late 2017/early 2018). Or I can start to plot out a mental todo list for promoting Sorrows, making sure I’ve done everything I should. Sometimes, I’ll even suddenly be struck by something that doesn’t really add up from an earlier chapter. Or even think about a whole new story line to add to my list of novella material that I keep working on, because there are so many great stories to tell in The Lost Intensities and so many characters who deserve a bit more development. Sometimes, the only problem is remembering to go straight to my keyboard and note it all as soon as I’ve warmed down!
So there you have it. Exercise – however reluctantly undertaken – isn’t only good for fitness and de-stressing. It’s also prime time for plotting.