Today I am featuring the wonderful writer Rebecca Stonehill, author of The Poet's Wife and The Girl and the Sunbird. Rebecca is also teacher of creative writing to children.
Check out her day here:
I live in Nairobi and here, school starts quite early for my three children, at 8am. So when I get up, I do a quick bit of yoga to help ease me into the day (I wish I were one of these people who jumps energetically out of bed, but I’m not!) and then there’s the normal whirlwind of breakfast, snack and bag sorting and getting my three kids to two different schools.
I like to be at my desk with a cup of coffee, writing by 9am (I say desk but, actually, it’s a camping table covered by a colourful throw) and I work through till lunchtime. On some days I’ll take a short break to go for a run or a brisk walk around the neighbourhood which I find really helps to clear my head and I often have ideas that I know wouldn’t come to me if I’d just been sitting at the laptop. It’s amazing how many revelations I’ve had whilst on the move!
I’m not an author who’s good at pounding out thousands of words of a manuscript per day. For me, I’ve learnt that a minimum of 1000 words for the day works well; much beyond that and I find the words start becoming a little wooden and forced. So the time that I don’t spend working on the story, I do other writing-related activities, such as blogging, professional editing work or preparing for my creative writing after school club or storytime for kids. I am passionate about children’s literacy and love spending as much time as I can involving myself with activities that encourage young people to read and write.
Once the children are collected from school (and hoping that I don’t get stuck in the crazy Nairobi traffic!), there are a few after school activities, then we go home where I cook the evening meal. I go through real phases with cooking – sometimes I don’t feel like I have the energy to put my heart and soul into it, and at other times I want to spend hours on end in the kitchen, dreaming up a huge array of feasts! My children complain that my cooking is way too healthy, but I think it must be a hangover from the kind of food my own mother used to prepare for me, and now I feel like nutritious, whole foods are the only way to go!
After dinner, I always read a chapter or two to my children of the latest book we are reading together. I love this time as it always throws up so many questions and we have read and discovered so many wonderful stories together. At the moment we are reading Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, a fantastic blend of magical storytelling and seamless prose.
I always leave a period of screen-free time before bed, because too much time at the laptop late at night leaves my head a jumble of conversations and opinions, not conducive to a good night’s sleep. This is a time for de-compressing, sorting photos (yes, I still print off photo’s and have dozens of photo albums), playing some music and reading. I am a voracious reader – it makes no difference whether or not I am working on my own stories, there is never a time when I don’t have a novel on the go. I love all kind of fiction; anything at all really with a compelling story and believable characters.
Thank you so much, Rebecca, for appearing on my blog!
Check Rebecca out here: www.rebeccastonehill.comTwitter: @bexstonehill
Facebook: Rebecca Stonehill Books
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Until next time :)