Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

‘I needed the therapist to be the perspective’: How couples therapy can help to repair a marriage
‘I needed the therapist to be the perspective’: How couples therapy can help to repair...

Amanda Cassidy

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Baker opted for a low-key courtroom wedding — will celebrity ‘minimonies’ spark a new marriage trend?
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Baker opted for a low-key courtroom wedding — will celebrity ‘minimonies’...

Sarah Gill

Make-up, the infamous op-ed and Elon Musk: Here’s what’s new in Depp v Heard
Make-up, the infamous op-ed and Elon Musk: Here’s what’s new in Depp v Heard

Sarah Finnan

The new perfume from this major fashion house is designed to smell like Dublin in the rain
The new perfume from this major fashion house is designed to smell like Dublin in...

Holly O'Neill

The enduring appeal of ‘Derry Girls’: Fare thee well, we’ll miss you
The enduring appeal of ‘Derry Girls’: Fare thee well, we’ll miss you

Sarah Finnan

Mums of IMAGE: 4 nuggets of wisdom for navigating motherhood
Mums of IMAGE: 4 nuggets of wisdom for navigating motherhood

IMAGE

Self-care Diaries: Maria Hatzistefanis, the CEO of Rodial who wears Bottega Veneta heels while WFH
Self-care Diaries: Maria Hatzistefanis, the CEO of Rodial who wears Bottega Veneta heels while WFH

Holly O'Neill

‘Everyone thinks my narcissistic mother-in-law is amazing. I feel so alone’
‘Everyone thinks my narcissistic mother-in-law is amazing. I feel so alone’

Amanda Cassidy

PSA: Zara has started charging for online returns and customers are not best pleased
PSA: Zara has started charging for online returns and customers are not best pleased

Sarah Gill

Image / Editorial

Ella Griffin


By IMAGE
29th Aug 2013
Ella Griffin

How do you discipline yourself as an author??I approached my first novel like an SAS mission. I had a 95-page blueprint with a page for every scene listing characters, locations, action and snippets of dialogue. I was writing that book while working pretty much full time, so that blueprint was my lifeline. If a month went by without any writing time, I could pick up the story threads within a few hours. Second time out, I got carried away with planning and wrote 50,000 words of notes before I even got started. Never again! I’m working on my third novel now, and I’m using a simple but detailed outline. The book is a novel in episodes and the theme is flowers so I’m trying to let it grow like a garden. So far so good!

Do you have a routine? I intersperse bursts of writing with advertising work.? When I’m writing ads, I have a brief and a deadline and someone else to bounce ideas off. I also have a great excuse to nip out and buy a bar of Galaxy. It’s definitely harder to structure my days when I’m writing. Right now, my day goes something like this. 7.20? Cup of coffee.? 7.45 drive my husband to the Dart. 8.00 Walk Haggis on the beach 9.00, have breakfast and second cup of coffee and read a poem. ?Switch on ?Concentrate? – a piece of software that blocks social media sites while I write. Write 500 words. 1.00 Break for lunch. 2.30 Write another 500 words.

Is it hard to work on your own??Not when I am working on ideas. The actual writing part can be lonely sometimes though. I don’t even notice that I’m on my own when it’s going well but if I get stuck, I am very easily derailed.? I’ll find myself getting distracted by the dog wanting an ear rub, the doorbell ringing, and the pigeons getting amorous outside my window. My friend, the writer Helen Seymour, has given me a great tip for getting unstuck though – watch other writers talking about writing on YouTube. It works!

What is the secret of work/life balance??I wish I knew. I am better at it now than I’ve ever been but I’m not there yet. I definitely wish I’d listened to all those experts who said that exercise is good for you.? I’ve joined lots of gyms but I only started actually going two years ago.? Now I know that, no matter how frazzled I am, an hour in the swimming pool will soothe me.? I try to take weekend off and I’ve started playing ping-pong. An hour leaping around after a little white ball is a wonderful antidote to week spent sitting at a desk.

Best advice you were ever given? I love this advice that Maeve Binchy gave to her niece Sarah so much that I’ve borrowed it for myself. ?Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you won’t do it, a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn’t usually make it better.) Get up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don’t agonise. Don’t regret. Don’t fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don’t wait for permission to be happy. Don’t wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life.’

What advice would you give your 25 year old self?? Be nicer to your mother, you won’t always have her. Don’t wait another ten years to get a dog.? Don’t wait another fifteen to start writing. Oh, and do you remember that English guy who read your palm in the bar in Crete last year?? The one who said you would meet the love of your life when you were forty? You should have asked him for the Lotto numbers, because he was right.

Ella Griffin is a bestselling novelist and award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Wicklow with her husband. Her’second?novel, ‘The Heart Whisperer’ (Orion) is out in paperback (?8.99)And her?book?of Kindle shorts ‘A Little Bit of Summer’ (Orion) is available on Amazon (99p)