For someone who is a control freak (just ask my husband) I find it extraordinarily difficult to loosen my grip on what matters to me. Writing a novel is fine, the whole process is a heady exercise in autocracy: you want something to happen and – hey presto – it does! It’s what comes after that I struggle with, and I’m struggling now. A publisher with an extremely crowded list is currently reading two of my books and I’ve just this moment dispatched the screenplay adaptation of one of them to my agent and there’s nothing more that I can do. Except wait. And pace up and down a bit, and sharpen my pencils, and polish my desk, and monitor the thaw, and stare meaningfully at the phone, and check my emails, and pace up and down some more.

People often say don’t you have to be incredibly disciplined to be a writer? But it isn’t the writing that requires discipline, it’s what comes after, when other people are making things happen, not you. So if you want to play the writing game, remember that an enormous part of it, the hardest part, is the waiting game. Forget polishing perfect prose, this is when you need to be really creative, to fill your head with interesting and diverting thoughts, to plan new projects. But it’s the one time in your writing life that you must steel yourself not to imagine…