I wish there was one! I'm trying to become more structured in the way I work. In the last year I've started treating weekends as sacred, for example, because life is actually more important than work in the end – but the demands of freelancing, particularly theatre freelancing, mean that my weeks tend to be pretty varied.
A year ago my wife and I moved to Crystal Palace and bought our first flat, and I have a shed now where I keep all my paperwork and do all my writing. So I try to shut myself away in there with a cafetière and write whenever I can, really. Sometimes with the dog in tow (we have a Border Terrier called Steve), to give the cat a break from him, and sometimes on my own – he's only 11 months old, so he's not the most chilled out character right now!
The shed has allowed me to be more systematic because I've never had a dedicated space before – I wrote bits of Five Rivers in graveyards, bits of Turning For Home in hospitals – and I just really love having one. I've painted it my favourite colour and built bookshelves out of old attic floorboards and hung pictures around the shed that connect me to all the important places in my life – pictures from Wiltshire and Hampshire and Sussex and Oxford and Sligo and Northamptonshire, which is more or less my personal constellation.
As I'm going through life, I'm becoming steadily more aligned with Ted Hughes in the way I see the writing process. I do think there's an element of magic to it, and that stories are really spells, and I do find therefore that when REAL writing happens – those moments when a story actually coalesces, when the work of getting all the words right comes to fruition – that tends to occur in very strange unpredictable moments. I've just adapted The Remains of the Day, and my first draft of that was pretty stodgy – but I worked out how to do it as my wife and I were leaving the house to go for drinks with friends and had to delay us to draw pictures on the back of an envelope of the shape I wanted to make. My new novel, The Vanishing Hours, was almost entirely written one night while I was crossing the estate where we used to live to go and buy a pint of milk. So it's important to be receptive to unexpected influence, not to let a regime shut that out, I think.