My Get Fit and Write Diary: the struggle of a lady of letters

Inspired by Gwynneth Paltrow’s Journal at, I will now take an organic leaf out of her virtual volume and keep a diary of my struggle as a lady of letters.

7.30am Wake up. Twilight. Cold. Forbidding.

7.35am Fall asleep.

8.05am Wake up. Stare at the space where my mug of tea should be. The absence makes me think about the state of the world, the sad state wherein which we humans have arrived at in. Fall asleep.

8.42am I must have dreamed — vividly — because I wake up with a start, full of inspiration, or something. I snatch up my black moleskin notepad, stroke its soft yet firm welcoming cover, and scribble down my thoughts.

8:45am Fall asleep.

9.22am I am woken with a steaming cup of Earl Grey, too hot for plump sensitive lips that speak of sensuality and a generous soul, so I wait for it to cool a little.

10.17am I wake up to find my tea tepid — the ice-fairy has visited during my slumber. I drink a little, nevertheless, and am reminded after the first lukewarm mouthfull that hot things rise, and that my tea will fall icier as I descend its depths. I call for a fresh cup. Bone china — with real bone so the delicacy of bergamot infusing the leaves of the camellia sinensis can come through and clear my heady head, even if it means (s)cuppering my drive to go vegetarian like my heroine Gwynnie and save the planet.

10:18am Intent on using every available moment of the day, before even leaving the warmth of the duvet, I do some limbering up in bed. I know I must get myself fighting fit like an athlete for the day ahead. It is vital for a creative person like I to get their endorphins flowing through the brain: the intellect is your armoury in the struggle to create. Breathing puts arrows in your quiver, lead in your pencil and electron thingies in your Mac.

10:33am Exhausted from multiple leg-raises and yoga stretches, I resist the urge to slip into the sweet arms of Morpheus. But, hark, here comes my tea. I clear my lungs of their overnight bronchital detritus and contemplate the day ahead.

One must be sensitive to the Process. I am aiming for a chapter every day: two thousand words minimum. At this rate I will have my memoir finished by Christmas.

14:15 Showered, lunched and gardened out, I proudly announce that I have spent 20 minutes masturbating when I catch myself and realise I mean the other activity beginning with M: I have been meditating for 20 minutes flat-out and feel marvellous. I settle down to the computer to write. But first, I download my email, respond to several urgent calls upon my time, check Facebook, read the papers (including my secret vice, the Daly Mail), check Twitter, check Facebook again and then, finally ready to begin The Work, I open up the Word document.

It is not the blank screen of terror that stares back. I have already written 500 words or so only the previous week before having to take an important telephone call. However, time ticks on and the butcher shuts at four so I dash out to the shops, remembering to pick up milk, fresh vegetables and fat balls for the birds.

16:56 Arrive back home just in time to tune in to Eddy Mair on Radio 4’s PM. It is so vitally important to keep up with the news, and Eddy’s little jokes always make a welcome break from the tragedy unfolding on the BBC. Mr Savile the entertainer and Freddy Kreuger have never been seen in the same room together and there is a lesson to be learned there somewhere if you dig deep enough and think hard and long. But as an intellectual, that is my job.

19:00 We sit down to dinner and another one of Jon Snow’s fabulously cheering ties. If only they had these in the Blitz. Lavender socks today, Jon. A welcome joyous flash in today’s bleak world.

20:00 I allow my dinner to go down as Mr Showbiz himself, Gok Wan, starts another telly series, “Baggage”, which feels ironic somehow and yet never is. I stifle the thought that this is unmitigated rubbish and continue to watch out of solidarity with the bredren and fascination at the novel sight of a Chinese person actually saying things until the little vein at my temple begins to throb.

23:29 News at Ten and Newsnight over, it is time for bed. I apply myself to my ablutions and retire to bed with my kindle, tired after a hard day’s labour. To rest and wake up refreshed for another day’s toil at the writing coal-face.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

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