The trouble with trying to write a book is the trouble of trying to get around to writing it. I would far rather spend all day riding my bike ? or even bailing out my tent ? but seeing as I?ve just spent the past year performing both of these activities, there comes a time when you?ve run out of windows to wash or floors to hoover and simply got to force yourself to sit down, stare at a blank sheet and type a word. And once you?ve typed that first word you can think: only 999,000 words to go. Easy really.



So that?s what I?m doing now, writing words and stringing them together to form a haphazard heap of sentences. Despite the complete lack of exercise it requires, and the shutting yourself away from everything and everyone, I strangely love writing. My wonked knee seems to love it too because it can at last lie back, put up its feet and have a rest. For once I?m not forcing it to haul me and my weighty load day after day over mountain over mountain. That said, I do still have to have my thirty-to-forty-plus miles-a-day dose of cycling. If I can?t cycle daily I tend to get horribly fidgety and crotchety and?well, thoroughly unpleasant.

So here?s my writing day:

Fall out of bed at 6am, if not before. Sometimes, if I?ve got a real writing head on, I?ll get up at 4am. Also, looming deadlines mean extra early rising. Sometimes it?s easier just not to go to bed at all.

The first thing I have to do when I get up is to go cycling for an hour or two or more, no matter whether it?s dark, freezing, frosty, raining cows and horses or blowing a gale. Unless I have a good heart-pounding cycle I can?t write.
When I get home I have breakfast ? a hefty pot of porridge. Then I sit a foot off the ground on a small square stool I made when I was eleven, at a low makeshift table with a removable top of plywood wedged against the window, and write for five hours until it?s time to eat again. (Another very large pot of food). I then go for another hour or two?s fast cycle. Then I come home, pick up the axe and chop up a barrow-load of wood. Then I light a fire and write for another five hours. Then I eat another very large pot of food and maybe have a little light entertainment with the builder. And then I write until about midnight ? give or take an hour depending on the word flow and the weighted state of my eyelids.

Then I flop into bed, ready to start all over again.

Word count to date: 16,500