that is a joke title ’cause it hasn’t been all shiny. I mean, the first day after I quit my job and started writing full-time was amazing. the days leading up to that day were exciting. anticipation for shiny newness is seriously the best, right? but learning how to work alone was really hard for me. I felt super lonely. and reading my work back was excruciating. three and a half months in, what I’ve learnt is that getting up every day and spending that day by myself doing something that no-one cares if I do or not, is really weird.
but I’m getting used to it.
I realised just how much I’ve gotten used to it when my kid told me it was his college holidays, and that my quiet house-to-myself days were about to be interrupted (and it’s not like he’s little anymore, so it wasn’t that he’d be super demanding etc).
so what have I been doing? In the first two months I worked at the writers’ room most days. I pounded out over 20,000 words and was really focused on how much I could get done and how quickly. I really felt like I had to spend all day, every day writing, like, for hours.
then we had a couple of family holidays which were so awesome, but my flow was interrupted and when I tried to pick up where I’d left off, I couldn’t. I needed some perspective on my work. I’d kinda just sat down and started a vomit draft, but suddenly I felt like I needed to clean it up.
after that I spent quite a bit of time at home trying out a few different things. I tried reading out loud. re-writing passages and pages in different tenses, different POVs etc. I’ve never written a book before, so absolutely everything is trial and error. everything is new to me.
then I cut about half of my draft. I started again at about 10,000 words. I decided to slow down. I am trying to be more gentle with myself. I get less words down in a day, but hopefully that means I’ll cut less later.
I’ve found a daily routine. a mix of what I have to do, what I want to do, and what will allow me to do it (a lot of sun, thinking time, and coffee.)
I’m more flexible with my time. at first I was really strict about writing only in the hours I spent at the writers’ room. now sometimes I’ll write a bit at night, which helps if I feel like I didn’t get enough done during the day.
it’s going pretty well, I reckon.
also, I realise I’m in a super privileged position to be doing this at all. (hashtag grateful) but also I really am. (prayer hands emoji.)
p.s if you’re interested in hearing about writing and process, this unladylike podcast with charlotte wood and paddy o’reilly is the business.