Now I know this isn’t everyone’s idea of a joy, but I think many writers will identify with this one, especially writers who, like me, do a bunch of other things as well as write*. And it wasn’t on the list of joys you all gave me either, so I added it for myself.

One of my own personal joys is working when many** other people are off – the time between Christmas and New Year, Sunday mornings, Bank Holidays – all of these times are so much quieter and so much more conducive (to me) to writing. There are few if any emails, no phone calls, people have other plans, they’re out and doing, the street and neighbours are quiet because everyone is in the park or away, and all I can hear beyond my open window is birdsong. We’re taking my mother-in-law (almost 90) out for lunch later but, right now and for the past 90 minutes, I have had quiet, perfect, concentrated writing time. I’ve written the bones of an idea for a collaboration to come and I did so straight through, without any distractions. Now THAT is a joy.


* BTW, this is MOST writers, even if they don’t have any other official ‘job’ as I do with Fun Palaces. Most writers also do things like book events, occasional teaching, panels, festivals, publicity gigs/tours, tv/radio gigs, meetings, promotion and publicity interviews etc – the myth of the ‘full-time writer’ where we live quiet days full of nothing but notebooks and dreaming pays very little attention to all the other work, the huge amount of it, that goes into being a writer.

** I’m well aware it’s my choice to work today, I grew up with a father who did shift work, 6 days on/2 days off, a days/afternoons/evening shift rota and I lived the difficulties that caused for family life. Choice is what makes it a joy.