PW: Can you describe what your writing day is like?
AB: I tend to be either immersed in a book and writing a lot, or I’m not at all and I’m busy trying to find my way into something new, or I’m doing a lot of interviews and meetings and I’m teaching a bit. There are certain periods of my life when I’m deeply immersed in a book and I’ll write many hours a day and at night, too. The book I’m working on will be where I live for a while. It’s not really that sustainable a place because, well, there’s the rest of my life! But there are other times when it does take a lot of discipline to sit down and make myself write.
The early parts of a project tend to be the hardest for me. Pushing my way in to a new story and figuring out what I want to write about and who I’m writing about is a slow process. I spend a lot of time figuring this out – this is also probably called procrastinating! But once I’m in, I’m really in. If you catch me during one of those times, I’m probably writing six to seven hours during the day and a few more hours at night.
For example, I wrote Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants alarmingly quickly. And when I was working on The Here and Now, I got a lot of help with the kids because I was writing so much at that point. I tend to not sleep for a period of time when I’m writing like that, and then I catch up when it’s over. I’m not a moderate person, I’m afraid.