Since my last post in April I have moved house, finished book 3 (which will need lots of edits as the estimated 70,000 words has turned into 94,000 words), AND I was shortlisted in the Guppy YA open submissions competition.
When I found out I made the long list in June for the Guppy Books competition I didn’t dare hope that I would make it through to the final 11. Then on the Sunday evening of my first weekend in my new house I got an email telling me the amazing news. Getting this far with the competition has given me a much needed boost and nothing beats the excitement of opening a ‘good news’ email relating to your writing. One winner will be announced in a few weeks and a distraction for me is making sure I just keep writing and getting on with other projects, and mentally preparing myself for a swift ‘move on to the next plan’ if things don’t go any further with this one!
I’m lucky that my fiance is very supportive of my writing and encouraged me to set up one of our spare rooms as my writing room (he has a playstation den!). Since I’m still doing my day job from home at the moment my room is also an office but I am trying to ensure that doesn’t kill the creative vibe I want (need!) to have in my space. So this weekend I spent some time constructing an ‘inspiration’ board, which could also be called a ‘feel good’ board as I’ve been pinning random things on it that remind me of things, people, places, goals, sentiments etc etc that make me feel inspired, motivated, encouraged and loved.
During lockdown I’ve enjoyed a slower pace of life, where I’m not spending two hours of my day commuting in to a busy town centre, or working in an open plan office that operates at a hundred miles an hour (though I am still very busy working from home- actually more busy in some ways), or squeezing in social events/meetings too many evenings a week ….and now my partner and I live together I am no longer carting around parts of my life in an overnight bag.
Don’t get me wrong, I have not turned into one of those crazy I now have so much time I can write seven novels in seven weeks type of person – my day job still takes up my 9-5 but my head often has quieter moments, (occasionally 7.30am moments- let’s say very occasionally for them), where I can lock down some words.
And my imagination woke up a bit more; I’ve had more spare time to daydream and think. I’ve talked about the importance of this before in an earlier blog post and this is something I feel we creative folk are bad at giving ourselves permission to do – to just BE; not to think I need to finish that next chapter, that next story, that next print (whatever your creative discipline might be). If you are juggling lots of projects you can feel guilty about laying them to one side, and just doodling and daydreaming and seeing where your mind takes you. And those moments are often the most enjoyable and important because I certainly let go of that inner critic voice that can be so obsessed with producing something perfect it takes away the spontaneous mess. And so often this ‘mess’ fits together into something wonderful.