why things never go quite as I had planned them and two toned cakes just because
I start each day with a very clearly defined plan in my head. My day is stretched out before me, perfectly planned, with time slots specified for each and every activity I want to fit into it. Is it any wonder that the only one I can keep up to is the amount of water I drink in a day? See, it all starts to go awry as soon as I hit the shower. Sure, I have decided while I was having breakfast and perusing my Instagram (@kitchenwitchmiranda, in case you're wondering) that first I take kid to shcool, then I come home and change into workout clothes, then I do half an hour weight lifting, then I check the blog, social media, emails, etc. and then I settle down to write or revise. Or plan a blog post.
After about an hour and half writing, it's time to change back into my non workout clothes, get lunch ready and pick kid up. I come back home, feed him, feed myself, get his afternoon snack ready, do the dishes, take him to school and on my returning home, change once more into my workout clothes and do half an hour stepper exercises. Then settle down to write some more, be it re-writing chapters, be it research, be it a blog post, before it's time to pick him up from school once more and start on with the shower and the dinner and the evening. I never turn on my laptop over the evening. At least I try not to! That's what my day looks like in my head every single morning as I take my breakfast. But then I hit the shower.
When I'm in the shower I tend to go over chapters in my head. Ones that are written, others that aren't. New ideas come up, and I simply know I need to jot those down as soon as I can. Morning routine takes over, with getting kid ready for school and sloting in simple house chores so I don't have to deal with those once I'm back home, and all the time my head is spinning tales and writing down monologues, dialogues, information that needs to be written or the reader will not understand. And all the time I worry these ideas will slip out of my head in the time it takes me to drop the kid off and get back home. So when I do get back home, despite of all my carefully laid plans, somedays I find myself with my overcoat still on, sitting at my desk and writing when suddenly it's time to pick the kid up.
Or I get lost in research. I tend to get lost in research a lot. See, the internet is as far as I am considered, a wonderful world. Because research. You have no idea how many doors it has opened for me when it comes to that. I remember in 1997 as I was writing my first vampire novel I needed to research life in the 1800's in Scotland of all places. I particularly needed to know what hunting parties were like, what formal dances and dinners were like, and I had no access to the internet. I spent a whole week doing research at my local library, which is a marvellous place by itself, because I managed to track down the information I needed, at least part of it. But not as quickly as I do these days, with the internet.
Having access to information, say, on the Vlads of Wallachia's lineage - look, it's a vampire novel, it's kind of obvious that I should mention them! - it's inestimable! Google Maps, it's heavenly when you set your story's action in different places around the world, places you haven't been to and don't even know. My latest novel is set partly in London, partly in Port Eynon near Swansea, part in Bangor, NI where I had to find a small enough town close to Helen's Tower - don't ask, google it an fall in love like I did - that had a large enough meadow and clusters of wooded areas near housing facilities. Google Maps did that for me. Before the Internet, a certain scene would not have been written. I have never been to any of those places, see, but I can now describe Port Eynon's seafront fairly accurately, and I can name a few hotels in the area too.
So yes, lately my best laid plans are all going awol on me, because I end up sitting here and writing, neglecting my exercise routine, my blog, my editing of photos, my taking of photos, my styling and my cooking, simply because I do have a hard time extricating myself from a story once I am immersed in it. While there are still things that need to be written, while there are still whole chapters floating around my head, I can't back down nor can I bring myself to think of other things. I just tell myself it'll be all over soon, and I'll soon be getting some sort of writer's block and then I will get back to normal life, but so far, there is a vampire that has been alive since the 1500's and whose life story has only just reached the end of the ninteenth century, which has led me to research Jack the Ripper - as if I didn't know enough about that one yet, which actually turns out I didn't! - and get lost in the grueseome description of Mary Kelly's body that served has basis for a gruesome description of my own. Internet is like having everything you want to know at the tip of your fingers, gotta love it!
These pretty two tone cupcakes have been waiting patiently inside a folder on my desktop, and as I write this post, finally, I am torn with a desire to just screw it and go back to that pesky vampire and his lifeline, but I will persevere. If you'd like to try them for tea, here's the recipe:
- 200 gr flour
- 200 gr butter, unsalted, cut into cubes at room temp
- 180 gr sugar - I used yellow demerara
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 30 gr very finely ground hazelnuts
- 30 gr good quality cocoa powder
- 4 eggs