Every writer must justify the hours taken away from other activities to write, and every writer must discover for themselves where those hours are to be found. As I was beginning to take my novel writing more seriously, I realized that the hodgepodge of writing sessions I had accidentally backed into was not giving me the consistent output and depth of concentration I needed to really write a good book. It was around that time that I learned about the beginning of James’s career.
P.D. James did not publish her first novel until the age of 42. While she was working on it, she was also working full time, had two children, and had a husband who was suffering from mental illness after suffering in World War II. His illness was at times violent and he required hospitalization, which left her to support her family. The first novel was “Cover Her Face,” which featuring a female protagonist and added a new level of psychological depth to the British mystery. She found the time to write it early in the morning, before going to work. That pretty much did it for me. If she could do that, then certainly I, too, could get up early and put in a couple of hours before what, by any comparison, would be a very easy day.
I’ve come to love my morning writing time. As so many writers have found over the years, it has some mysterious qualities, being closer to the dreamworld and further away from the more logical, less inspired thoughts that seem to add up as the routine demands of the day march onward.
I think it’s definitely time for a Dalgliesh-athon, (All fourteen of her Dalgliesh novels have been dramatized for British television.) But only if there’s time for it later.
Mornings are for writing.
P.D. James New York Times Obituary