Thursday, 8 May 2014


Today I am excited to welcome Henriette Gyland to The Love of a Good Book!


Many writers have very specific writing rituals for when they work, e.g. a favourite pen to write with, a preferred place to sit, a certain CD on the CD player etc., and I’m often asked if I have similar rituals. I do, although perhaps they’re not rituals as such, but more a case of surrounding myself with certain items that help create the right working environment for me.

Here are the 10 things I can’t do without (in no particular order):
1) Tea. Lots of it. Earl Grey in the morning, strong builder’s tea with milk in the afternoon, and herbal teas in the evening. Wrapping my hands around a warm mug gives me an immediate sense of calm.
2) Pencils and paper. And not just any old kind. I like writing in longhand using only HB pencils, on lined paper with no margin and no holes. Margins are a waste of space in my opinion, and I end up doodling around the holes.
3) My friends. I moan a lot, about the day job encroaching on my writing time, about characters not doing what they’re told, about the state of the publishing industry, and so on and so forth. My friends listen patiently, and then they tell me to get on with it.
4) My cats. They sit on the window sill in my office sending me cat kisses through narrowed eyes, and only disturb me when they want feeding.
5) Fresh air. A short walk in the afternoon (even if it’s just to the shops) perks me up and helps me re-focus my thoughts. Sometimes I work in the garden too, with a cardigan or blanket around me for warmth.
6) My thesaurus. An invaluable tool to help me find just the right word to describe something. This helps me avoid those clichéd phrases we all love to hate.
7) The Internet. Another invaluable resource for any research-related query. I tend to do what I call “5 Click Google” to stop myself spending too much time online, otherwise the day is just gone.
8) My desk diary. Being a writer with a day job and a family means that I’m always juggling at least 5 balls at the time. I jot down everything I need to do that day/week and then tick off each item as I go along. This is immensely satisfying.
9) An afternoon sugar boost. My energy levels tend to run low mid-afternoon, so to combat this I always have a (secret = no kids allowed) stash of sweet liquorice, dark chocolate, or even glucose tablets close at hand.
10) A good book to delve into after a hard day’s work!

Do you have certain rituals, or things you just can’t do without?



  1. My guilty pleasures are the Norwegian equivalent of Jelly babies but oh, so delicious - Seigermann! Have you ever come across those in Denmark?

  2. What a lovely post - and I totally agree with number one. There is definitely something satisfying, calming and uplifting about a mug of tea! I look forward to reading The Highwayman's Daughter :)

  3. My cat helps too. Mostly by not snoring too loudly as he sleeps next to me. I also drink gallons of tea when writing. I downloaded this book yesterday and am really looking forward to it. I loved your other novels...

  4. bernimoonhouse16208 May 2014 at 11:31

    My cat sometimes sits behind me on the same chair. Her warmth is comforting and the purrs really soothing.

    I loved The Highwayman's Daughter too – and your previous novels. Great blog :)

  5. No, I've never heard of them before, but I love jelly babies, and these ones sound particularly delicious!

  6. Thanks, Kathryn, I hope you like it. Think I might sneak off to kitchen for a cuppa in a minute ;-)

  7. Janet and Berni - My cats are generally very good, but on occasion I've had to leave the keyboard only to find a whole page of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee's upon my return. Still, I couldn't do without them :-)

  8. Love to see how other writers work and I'm with you on the tea thing - in fact when I acquired my office after my son moved out the first thing I put in there after my desk was a tea table so I don't have to leave the room for a fix!

  9. Now, you see, Angela, that's what I'm missing in my office: my own personal tea table (hmm, note to self...) :-D

  10. An excellent list of necessities though I find chocolate a very useful source of inspiration at any time of day

  11. Many thanks to Kirsty for letting me feature on Love of a Good Book.

  12. It was wonderful to have you as a guest. Thank you x

  13. I think the five clicks on Google is a brilliant idea. I can waste hours on the internet instead of writing. Not sure about the book at the end of the day, I often find myself despairing I'll ever be as good as someone else and wondering if I should give up!