Third novel hiatus

UnknownOver the past few weeks, I’ve had a bit of a break from writing my novel and I’m finding it hard to get back into it. My head has not been very clear.

My kids had an introductory day at their new school yesterday and it went really well.

So, maybe my head is clearer than it was the day before yesterday, but I still have a few things to tidy up before I can dive in deep. I wonder if I’m resisting that all-consuming state, when the novel enters your thoughts last thing at night and first thing in the morning and all those moments between. I shared a few tweets with writers Courttia Newland and Julia Bell‎ about this state and how it feels a little like being drunk, or smoking a ton of weed. It’s hazy and mellow and dream-like all at the same time. I love it, though, it’s nice to have a chat to my subconscious, which, frankly, has a lot of pretty cool stuff to say. But it’s hard on those around me. My kids start tugging on my sleeve, asking to be let in.

Maybe I need to get better at compartmentalising.

My kids’ new school has normal school hours. I’ll work better with a clearer structure to my day.

For a time, I dreaded writing another novel. My son was only two when I started my second, and I didn’t have much time to work. Afternoons were spent with the kids, or with the kids and their friends. So, I worked Saturdays, which meant an early night on Friday, and weekend family time almost eradicated. I got into this weird state of anxiety that if I didn’t use all my spare time thinking or working on my book it wouldn’t materialise. I became disconnected. I realise now that writing when in this state is not necessarily going to be good for the novel.

But millions of people write and hold down jobs or look after kids, and they’re not depressed. It’ll be easier this time. My kids are older.

It’s sunny outside and I haven’t dug my bike out of the basement yet. I need to start cycling again. Everything looks better from a bike.

Oh, I’ve written a really good short story, which I think is just about ready to be sent off for a prize. While I haven’t been writing, I’ve come up with ideas of other things I can do, like setting up a competition for published novelists who are having difficulty getting back on the career ladder; workshopping; teaching. I made £200 pounds yesterday, and plan to make another £200 in the coming week. I’ll also be on a panel at various literary festivals this year, with Carolyn Jess Cooke‎, on the subject of Writing Motherhood.

I spoke to my agent the other day and told her all my ideas and she told me I was distracting myself, and I should get stuck back into the novel.  When I put down the phone I knew she was right, but why does one have to cancel out the other? I know the answer to this question, by the way.

I reckon my kids and husband would be happy with a smile once in a while.

It’s sunny. I’m smiling.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    ‘I wonder if I’m resisting that all-consuming state, when the novel enters your thoughts last thing at night and first thing in the morning and all those moments between.’

    This is the weirdest thing about writing. Standing on the edge of that liminal space: the obsession of writing, and then, eventually, falling straight in — usually to the detriment of normal life, relationships, and the rest — until it’s done. I’ve just come out the other side. And I think my girlfriend is very glad.

    Lovely post, anyway.

  2. lilydunn says:

    That’s exactly I’m resisting it. I love it, but it’s so draining… and everything else in your life needs to be settled and able to be ignored for a while. Not ignored but stepped away from slightly. We are lucky to have partners who support us through it. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Sadie Hanson says:

    I am about to reread the first draft of my novel and then will be entering the twilight zone again, and it does so much feel like smoking a bag of weed; your body manages to stay connected to the physical world (just) while your head is living another existence. And yes to cycling! When I lived in London (now in zone six) I used to cycle to work, college…. every where, it was such a meditation on the wheel of the year. Lovely to read about all the exciting things you have planned too…

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