Author Candice Fox reveals that the best way to end a novel is to write a few hundred words every day. And she takes a similar stance when it comes to fitness.
For most of us, the mere thought of trying to write a novel – the 90,000 words in one – is enough to make us break into a cold sweat. But for Australian bestselling author Candice Fox, it’s just another day at the office.
Well, several more days in the office, to be honest. Because the secret, she says, is to treat every book (like her latest thriller The Chase) like you’re training to run a marathon.
“I’ve learned recently that it’s better to do a little a lot rather than a lot,” she says.
“I nibble on a novel every day, a few hundred words, and after a few months, I gain momentum and suddenly I’m at 90,000 words. Roman does. People marvel at it. But it’s just snacking, being consistent, not trying to take huge bites.
“If you decide to run a marathon, do nothing for the week and then try to run 15 km on the first Saturday available. You will be extinguished.
“You start with a mile each day and work your way up from there. “
Whatever she does, it works. Two-time winner of the Ned Kelly Award in Australia, Fox also took first place on the New York Times bestseller list in the United States with her novel Never Never, which she co-wrote with James Patterson.
But she is quick to point out that even successful writers can suffer from the same old problems that all of us. In her case, it’s a good night’s sleep.
“I have a two year old, so yeah, the past two years have been a masterclass on how bad a bad night’s sleep is for you,” she says.
“I have also suffered from insomnia in the past and have seen a doctor about it. She told me to remind myself that “sleep is not something you do. It’s something that happens to you ”.
“I found it useful. If I turn around, it’s usually because I’m trying to fall asleep and that effort isn’t working, which frustrates me and actively prevents me from sleeping.
Candice Fox on …
“If you want to achieve something new every day, tie it to something you already do every day. If you want to start doing 10 squats every morning, do so right after brushing your teeth. You’re not going to skip brushing your teeth – so you’ll remember to do the squats.
Become aware of physical fitness
“I used to believe that if you didn’t look like Michelle Bridges you wouldn’t gain in fitness. But I’ve learned that it takes an incredible amount of dedication to every aspect of your body to achieve this. I am happy to have reached a level which may not be so incredible, but which makes me feel good. I eat pretty well and look good when I put on a dress. That’s really all I’m asking for. The washboard abs and thigh gap are a bit over me, I think.
Make the world a gym
“I have a huge wild garden that I really enjoy being in, and the effort and the visible results can be so enjoyable. Pull weeds, shovel soil, lift rocks, carry watering cans. There is nothing better than ending the day muddy, sweaty, exhausted and satisfied with the state of the construction site.
* Candice Fox’s new novel The Chase is available now
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Originally published as How author Candice Fox lives by the motto “one day at a time”