It was asking for trouble really, to start my writing challenge before my holidays had begun. I should never ever do that. The spirit was really willing, but I should know what I’m like when leaving the office for a fortnight. After my last post I was filled with enthusiasm. I went to bed on Monday night with my characters making conversations in my head. I rose on Tuesday and they were still at it. Alas, I was up too late to write any of it down, and as I got on the bus, work thoughts began to obtrude. By the time I was half way down the Cowley Road my imaginary friends were smothered in an avalanche of concerns about spreadsheets, deadlines and letters to be sent by Wednesday. After two days of full on activity in the office, I was too worn out to do anything more than slob in front of the telly at night. And although I managed the odd hundred words here and there, it wasn’t till we finally got away on Saturday that the writing began to flow.
Thankfully, it’s been flowing since. We’re staying in our usual holiday venue near Tenby, always a great place for my writing. We’ve been coming ever since 2008. That year I nearly abandoned this novel. In fact I nearly gave up writing all together following a painful experience in a writing tutorial. (The moral of that particular story being, Never EVER enter a novel segment as a writing assignment…) I was exhausted and disheartened and spent the first few days sleeping. But as I sat in the sunshine with a notebook and pen, I remembered I loved to write. And Ann Gregson and Jo Davies’ marvellous paintings in the on-site gallery on site soothed and inspired me to keep going. I love Ann’s work so much that we bought a print home. “Leap in the Dark” is an abstract of reds, blues, oranges,greens that seems to me to form a cross that is alive and energetic. The colours jump in four directions, filling the dark edges with light and life. The painting sits above my writing desk as a reminder to me, that no matter how tough it gets, no matter what criticism I receive, I need to trust in my creative processes and keep leaping.
We’ve been here four days, and so far, so good. I’ve been getting up relatively early and while the rest of the family have been sleeping I’ve been tapping away. I’ve managed 6,000 words and have three chapters left to go in this section. If I can keep up this pace, I will have filled in the big gaps that were missing from last year’s draft, and may, just may ,be able to start editing Part 4, which is in slightly better shape.And my word count is hovering on 90,000 which means I’ve added another 30,000 words this year, and can definitely claim novel status. I still have a way to go before every word works as well as it should do, but I can feel the narrative strengthening, the character’s behaviours becoming less inexplicable, and I’m leaping through the darkness making connections I’ve never made before
Leaping in the Dark – it works for me, perhaps it should be an Olympic sport.