This blog is a little overdue and there are a number of reasons why, not least of which is that November is NaNoWriMo, my birthday, and Uni open day season, then there was the ever present lurker in the shadows.
Let’s deal with the first three first.
NaNoWriMo – I wrote 60,088 words. Of a story that I have had in my head for about seven years, I know this because the original idea was in a file and the original creation date was seven years ago. I’m yet to be convinced it works, but more to do on that tonight.
My birthday – it was the 29th, my husband worked a full 12-hour shift and I cooked a full roast dinner for five. And baked cakes, which I took to work the next day and my colleagues inhaled (thankfully).
Uni open days – my daughter is in the last year of A‑levels and so looking at where to go next year.
So basically I had three weekends away in a row, full working weeks and did an interview of a production company for an article I was writing. In other words – I didn’t stop. Got utterly exhausted.
That’s probably how the lurking menace got a grip. That would be the depression. And I did go way down. Now, however, I’m on the way back up, and I have to say that this has been helped by the reasons I have to be cheerful – other people.
The first moment of turnabout came by text, this one kicked my arse and made me pull out of the nosedive though the guy who sent it had no idea of that at the time.
The message came from Tony Fyler of Jefferson-Franklin Editing, he’s both one of the people I edit for and a friend. It was on the 28th November, I was telling him that I was “having major doubts over everything I’ve written” and telling him that Thomasina (see previous blogs to understand her) was starting to mutter. What he came back with, and I checked he’s okay with me quoting this, is:
“Remind her that Nano doesn’t drive you to write a complete, polished draft. It drives you to write the first shitty draft that you have to polish. If she [Thomasina] says it’s all crap hit her with a wodge of pages written and tell her ‘Don’t be a dick, this was stage one!’”
That might not sound that cheering, but it reminded me that I was the one putting unnecessary pressure on me. All I had to do was write the thing, it didn’t have to be perfect. I still haven’t finished it, but I’ve been scribbling away, the extra four days have seen me add another 4,700 words. Once I’m finished with this, I’m going to start going through the book and making sure all the action is in the right order, which I don’t think it is and work out where and what the gaps are.
Something else happened on Wednesday that after made me think. I was at the Swansea and District Writers’ Circle and talking to Catrin Collier, we were laughing about a number of things and in the mix she said this to me: “You’re not mediocre, you’re too good.” I didn’t have a reply at the time because the reply that leapt to mind was rather self-effacing and not really appropriate as I was trying not to let Thomasina get the better of me.
But Catrin is a fantastic writer, so for her to say something like that to me, it’s a real compliment. And I must send her a note to say “thank you” (aside from this note – Thank you Catrin, it means a lot when I hear things like that).
The last thing I have to be thankful for is family. I have a supportive husband and two great kids. Also had some great news about my son, he managed to secure a job in November and this is the end of his first ever working week. I hope he survived it okay (he doesn’t live with us so much these days so I have no idea), willing to bet he’s knackered from the experience through. Then there’s my daughter, who is sitting across the room researching Christmas Specials from TV shows, we’re also watching a couple, and all because I’m writing an article about TV show Christmas specials. I’m obviously grateful to my husband too, without him I couldn’t do any of it.
So there you are, three reasons to be cheerful, a good boss and good friends and good family.
Makes the approaching holiday seem so much better than it did this time last week.