Monday, 6 June 2011

When life gives you lemons...

...ask for salt and tequila.

Ah yes, it's been a turbulent start to 2011 and I've now realised we're halfway through. How the hell did that happen?

Without going into detail (thank the lord! I hear you cry), the last few months have been some of the most stressful on (Emma) record. The only decent thing I have to show for it is Driving Exile but I fear by becoming absorbed in writing the book, I've become...well...slightly mad actually.

Sessions pounding it out at the gym before/after work with all of the other nine to fivers have been replaced with a brisk (albeit three hour) stroll along Liverpool docks with my ipod blasting in my ears, while I fantasise about what could happen in Book 2.

Just the other day, I actually heard my own voice as I was walking. Yes folks, I was talking OUT LOUD to myself.

The danger of writing a book, I'm soon starting to realise, is just how desperately lonely it can be. Don't get me wrong, I love my own company. In fact, it's the love of my own company that's caused the turbulent few months but let's not get into that...

I just think that while it's amazing to get sucked into your own fantasy land, it's also quite strange. I mean, you can't really talk about it without sounding like a loony and there's not really an awful lot to talk about anyway. It's unfolding in your mind so unless you sit across from your poor victim and reel it off like a Jackanory session, it's pointless.

When friends or family talk about events in their lives, I find myself nodding and smiling whilst inwardly panicking:

"Oh shit, I haven't actually done anything for weeks."
"Have I even got dressed the last few weekends?"
"Did I speak yesterday?"
"Wonder if they'll want to hear what happens to Katie when she..."

In the end I just settle with:

"I'm fine. Not been up to much, just working."

I did start to wonder whether I had actually lost the plot completely. Maybe people were whispering behind my back and planning an intervention to get me into a straitjacket? Images of Jack Nicholson in The Shining kept going around my head:

All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl
All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl
All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl
All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl
All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl


But then I started thinking. What on earth did I expect the writing process to be? Of course I was going to become absorbed in the world of the characters. If I didn't then there's no way it'd be finished and even if I did manage to cobble it together I'm quite sure it'd be a half-assed attempt at a first novel.

No, I need to embrace the madness and accept the process. Hopefully, it'll pay off one day if I see my book on the shelves of Waterstones.

I'll keep dreaming, listening to my ipod and talking to myself.

And when life decides to hand me lemons again, I'll accept them graciously.



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