When do you write? I used to write when I had time and when the mood took me, and the combination didn't happen very often. Seventeen years is a hell of a long time to write a first book, but it is proof positive that you need several things working for you. Now that I have the luxury of choosing when to write, I've found a few things that surprise me.
First of all, you need time to write. That's almost a given. Then a place to write. I know some people write amid the hubbub of family life, but I get irritated when the tv pricks my bubble of concentration, or the phone rings, so I retreat upstairs to a converted bedroom which now proudly bears the name Jen's study. It's OK - dh has one as well.
Then I need a tidy desk, because I can't work in chaos. It only takes a moment to tidy things away, and then I'm good to start.
I've tried writing all day, and it is wonderful when the story flows, but however good it is, after a few days I drift to a stop, as if the story supply has slowly run dry. A few days doing nothing, and it starts to filter through again. so that means pacing the flow is important for me.
I tried various ways of limiting how much I do in a day. Walk first, when the weather is often best and write after lunch? Yes, its OK. Good to sit down after the exercise.
Write in the morning, and walk in the afternoon? Turned out to be more productive for the writing.
Go out with friends, a day out, and write in the evening? Didn't work well at all. Conversation and new things must have tired my poor brain.
Write late at night when the household is asleep? Sometimes works very well indeed, but it has to be when I can't sleep, when the brain is raring to go at the wrong time of day. I can't sit there after a busy day, feel tired and make the story work.
It seems working in the morning is best for me. It doesn't have anything to do with biorhythms or anything like that. I'm an autumn baby, and if anything, a night owl. I do not wake up in the morning bright eyed and raring to go; it takes me time to wake up and if rushed I can get really grumpy. But by half nine or ten o'clock, I'm usually at my desk, poised over the laptop and my brain, awake at last, is fresh and ready to go. A coffee on the hop mid-morning and I don't stop till noon. That's when my best, most productive writing takes place.
Things will interupt it, and of course I can adapt to suit. But it is handy to know what works best for me and to stick to it if I can. I salute anyone who must write in and around fulltime work and family...it is hard, really hard.