Another six months of being an author-for-a year, and another few thousand words written. They’ve been written in lockdown, out of it, fitted around home-schooling, and often into the night.
My funding from Create: Inclusion is dwindling, as the unofficial deadline of June draws closer. That means back to balancing the writing with editing and tutoring jobs – all online, at present – which is no hardship, because I still love that work, and several familiar clients are returning (and publishing or getting agents, which is always a vicarious thrill!) But this period of prioritising my own writing has been amazing.
And progress? I’ve got a full draft of a book, still tentatively called The Baby in the Box (I quite fancy the alternative Mum-For-Hire, which fits perfectly but lacks the ‘right’ tone) 55000 sensible words and the rest are workable. It’s ready to be culled and reworked with a serious editing pen. I’m still describing it as psychological suspense, or maybe domestic noir, because there is a fairly dark – very dark, the deeper you dig – mystery – but it’s underpinned by the complexity of relationships between very different people.
Maybe I’ll do a synopsis or a pitch in another blog…
I’ve tentatively entered it into competitions and for awards that permit w-i-p’s; and amongst the rejections and radio silence there have been small wins: longlisting for the Blue Pencil Award and a very near miss (so I’m told) for the CWA Debut Dagger longlist.
This time has given me the opportunity to do far more than ‘just’ the writing, of course. I did a short course with Erin Kelly, concentrating on writing psychological thrillers, and a ‘novel-writing’ week with the Arvon Foundation. And I’ve worked on some mini-projects: flash fiction published (and put to music, with visuals) for Forest Publishing, Writers Ink challenges; and been sidetracked by random wins for other pieces – like winning the Irish Novel Fair! And I’ve read. I’ve read novels properly, and enjoyed the experience, instead of skimming them, conscious of the teetering TBR pile.
All in all, then, it’s been a success. I’ve appreciated every minute. And it’s not over yet. In fact, I’m planning on this being just the start.