Can I write without chocolate and coffee?
I work full time as a criminal lawyer, have three children, and I have a publishing contract. The children get older, and so they stay up later, and fight more, and complain more. So my writing begins later and later each day. 9pm is my earliest start, and that's after a day in court and a few hours of children fighting.
One book a year, that's the promise, squeezed into the late hours and weekends, most nights ending well after midnight. I need artificial stimuli, and the kids make hard drugs tricky, so it's chocolate and coffee.
But it's not good for the waistline or blood pressure. No sleep and caffeine gives me a pleasantly flushed look during the day, a colourful footnote to the dark rings under the eyes, and the trousers get tighter.
So New Year arrived, and I resolved to be resolute about my resolution. Lose a stone (that's fourteen pounds for the Americans out there), get fit again, and get the blood pressure down. Chocolate and coffee had to go.
But I wrote two books on chocolate and coffee. How can I write another without them? Were they Dumbo's feather, and I had always been able to fly? Or will I be like Johnny Cash, never as good once he gave up the amphetamine? I try to write pacy, but was that just a sugar rush?
So far, I'm managing. I've discovered BBC Radio 6, and I write at the dining room table, headphones clamped to my ears, using the music to keep me awake. Only the passage of time will tell. If I struggle, to hell with the waistline and the blood pressure. I'll save the fitness for the space between books, the off-season