Ruth Rendell's Writing Routine

Posted on August 11, 2007

For some reason we've always been obsessed with hearing about other writers' work schedules. We don't know why -- after all, what difference does it make in the scheme of things? No doubt there is some deep psychological reason for our curiosity, but we haven't a clue what it is.

It appears that bestselling author Ruth Rendell maintains a very brisk work schedule. When she's not writing, she takes her duties at The House of Lords (where she sits as Baroness Rendell of Babergh) very seriously. The Telegraph asked her about her daily routine.

Morning routine: I get up just before six and come downstairs, put food out for the cats and open the cat flap. Then I work out for 35 or 40 minutes - I have a very large bathroom with an elliptical cross-trainer and a bicycle. After that I listen to the Today programme while I have a shower or bath. I'm usually downstairs by 7.30 and have my breakfast, just fruit. I start work by 8.45 and go on for about three hours.

Fitness routine: I try to have an hour's exercise a day at least. So say I've done my 35 minutes on the machines, I will walk for the remaining 25 minutes (except Wednesdays when I go to a Pilates class).

Regular route: I go to the House of Lords in the afternoon and try to walk halfway. I may be thinking about what I'm going to write. It's much more satisfying than sitting in a chair. At the moment I am thinking about a novel set in and around Portobello Road and the market, so I walk there a lot.

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Gadget: A memory stick. I have one with a couple of novels on it, and lots of articles and speeches. It weighs nothing and goes in your handbag. It's so easy.

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Writing room: I've got a small office at the top of the house, where I can be sure of being away from anyone. My housekeeper comes in four mornings each week (she's marvellous - I'm not enamoured of housework and I don't really do any). But I've got a round table downstairs where I sometimes work at weekends.

Baroness Rendell's next Inspector Wexford novel is Not in the Flesh, which is due out in the U.S. in November, 2007.


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