If you’ve never read a book by Renita D’Silva you are missing a treat. Renita writes beautifully. Her stories draw you in and each sentence is packed with evocative words that tantalise the senses. I stumbled across The Stolen Girl a couple of years ago and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Her latest offering, A Mother’s Secret, is full of intrigue and mystery, her descriptions so rich I really felt like I was there. Renita really inspires me as a writer and I felt a little bit in awe as I asked her how she spends her day.
My typical day starts at 6 am. I never used to be an early riser, but since having the kids, I can’t have a lie-in even if I want to – somehow, the habit of waking up with them, (they were both early birds, still are), has stuck and I wake at six now, or earlier, whether I want to or not.
My husband makes me my morning cup (it’s actually a huge mug) of tea before he leaves for work, without which I cannot seem to wake properly or start my day, be productive. I wake the kids, make sure they get off to school okay, then go on social media for an hour or so before settling down to write.
I try and write until noon every weekday. I tutor kids every evening, starting at half past three, so after lunch, I prepare for the evening’s lot of tuitions. From 3:30 to around 8pm, I teach, in between picking/dropping off my kids to their various activities. The time after is for my family and for reading. I don’t write at night unless I am behind with my deadline.
I love working with kids. They spark off ideas. While I am teaching, the solution to a particularly difficult plot hole will arrive in my head, fully formed. I also get my best ideas when washing the dishes, for some reason.
I tutor at a school on Saturdays, so I don’t get any writing done then. Sundays are for family, so no writing then either. As a rule, I try and write each weekday morning. Unless of course I am struggling to meet deadline – then it is every spare minute.
What I found hardest with working from home, initially – and I still struggle with it – was guarding my writing time. It is hard for people, no matter how well meaning, to understand that, despite the fact that I am at home, I still have to write, otherwise it will impact the balance I strive so hard to meet, so nothing is neglected – family, my tutoring – and so I get some time to indulge my hobby: reading. I tend to be something of a hermit now, when I am working to deadline. My friends understand that once I send the book off, I will contact them, and meet up for coffee and a catch up. I am quite a social person, but I do enjoy burrowing down with just my story. It is my time to be creative and productive and I have become better at defending it. Most of my friends understand, although they don’t realise just how many iterations and edits a book goes through. ‘I thought you had sent it off,’ is something I hear often.
I am so lucky to be doing what I love and I am grateful for it every day. However hard writing can be – and there are days when the words just won’t come, or when everything I write will not make the cut, when I wonder why I do it at all – there’s nothing else that gives quite the same satisfaction as putting the story that has been dogging my waking hours onto paper.
I agree. Thanks so much, Renita for sharing your routine with us.