The point of it all, which I didn’t even realise when I started, was how invigorating the whole process has been. And how much I needed it. I love being an author - I love it more than I can express – but sometimes you have to walk away from it all, just for a little while, so that you can come back refreshed. Retreat is essential. It also means I’m not sitting by the phone – OK, I just stuck that phone graphic in because it’s awesome – or checking emails too often for messages from publishing land.
It won’t be long before I’m back onto the next writing project. Perhaps as early as next week, but in the meantime I’ll be preserving lemons, leaning on a shovel in the garden, and doing a whole bunch of other stuff OUTSIDE the house. I’ll keep you posted with book- and all other news, because that’s the beauty of life, you never know what’s going to happen next.
So what to do? Initially, I had no idea. Only that it be something other than writing. That ‘something’ turned out to be as far removed from writing as possible, and also, surprisingly, really fun. As some of you know, I live in a beautiful coastal hamlet famous for its beaches, pretty main street, breathtaking scenery…and snakes. Big ones! It all started when my neighbour found a tiger snake sunning in her backyard. When I mentioned this to the a lovely lady in the garden department at Bunnings she casually offered the following advice: “They love it down your way. You should probably watch where you step.” Before offering up another snippet that they LOVE nesting in the root balls of agapanthus.
I’m guessing the previous owner of my place really liked agapanthus because they were everywhere, including lining the pathway down to the tap. Well, there was nothing else for it. I decided to dig them out…all 200 of them. (Yes, I counted them – out of curiosity, mostly, but also in case there are any weed-digging-up competitions I will be the winner by a mile). But wouldn’t you know that once I’d finished digging, the whole area was looking kind of barren and the steps, now exposed, seemed unloved. One thing followed another and I ended up building a path, complete with more stone steps found scattered around the property, all the way up the monster hill. It hasn’t all been plain sailing – actually none of it has – and the steps have deviated from the straight path (envisioned in my head) on account of water pipes and humungous tree roots, to a higgledy piggledy fabulousness that gives true meaning to the phrase, “leading up the garden path.' There’s still plenty to be done but the area is open and inviting and, more importantly, there's nowhere for snakes to hide.
IF YOU'VE READ MY PREVIOUS blog post, you will know that I recently completed another book. It is a pretty exciting time knowing that it’s done – no more rewrites, for the moment at least! But also a little bit daunting, with it now off on submission, which is when you feel like time stands still. At this stage, while you’re waiting for a response, the suggestion from publishers, agents and editors alike is to start writing another, and while that is pretty great advice, it feels like too soon.
Writing the last book, much like the two before that, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You would think after doing this for 20 years that I would be better at it. You would be wrong. I still labour over every word, have episodes of crushing self-doubt, and days (sometimes weeks) where ideas simply don’t come no matter how hard I squeeze my eyes shut and concentrate. To that end, I thought a little break – to decompress – before I dive into the next book seemed like a good idea.
MADE IN PIXEL TOGETHER