I'm not so vapid that I consider quotes from Sex and the City as mantras by which I live my life but there are a few crackers scattered in there...
For the last few months since finding myself 'single in the city', I've had a hell of a lot of people throwing in their opinions of what I should do.
"Move somewhere cheaper!"
"Come back to Manchester!"
"Live with your Dad for a bit!"
"Get a roommate!"
I've smiled politely and said the same thing over and over again - "I'm fine here for a while. I just need to be on my own and write."
Write, I did! I wrote a book in the space of a few weeks. A book that's doing a lot better already than the one I spent four years working on. The time has allowed me to take stock of my writing and what my 'style' is which has prompted a complete rewrite of Driving Exile.
I like the reader to be surprised, to be taken on a journey with me. Expect the unexpected. I believe I can achieve this with Driving Exile. I'm not ready to scrap it. It's like a battered old car that you think is a goner and then it goes and passes its MOT. You stand there staring at the rust bucket, scratching your head and wondering what kind of magic is keeping it going. So Driving Exile will keep on rolling. Sorry, you'll just have to keep hearing me bang on about that one for a bit longer.
I've sat here night after night, alone at my desk in my flat with the lamp on and a cup of green tea, typing away. The adventures, love, sadness, horror, joy of several lifetimes is hammered out through my fingers. I sometimes sit here and sob at some of the things I write. Not bad for someone who never used to cry.
I type until the early hours, go to bed, and get up the following morning to go to work and then back to the flat again for more writing. It's amazing. I love it, I really do. I've made something I'm proud of.
Several big things have happened in my life in recent months - the type of things that make people cock their head to one side and flash you a sad smile when they ask how you are. But its been fine.
I've had my writing after all.
It's got its downfalls though. When I tell my friends and family about the wonderful adventures of my characters they, in return, tell me about their lives. Their real lives. Wonderful, amazing, full, exciting lives.
Mum: "I'm moving to America!"
Uno: "I'm transferring jobs to Australia!"
Dos: "I'm an artist again and have a new girlfriend!"
Tres: "I'm a mummy!"
All happening while I'm sat at my desk typing my stories.
Against my better judgement, I went on a date last week with someone I kept bumping into in building where I work. Every fibre in my body didn't want to go but I put it to one side and went anyway. Around three sips into our first drink, he leaned over and grinned at me, "I'm married."
"Of course you are," I whispered to myself as he walked to the bar. "You couldn't write this shit."
There it was. The lightbulb moment. You couldn't write it. Sometimes you have to live out these scenarios.
So, that's what I'm doing.
I'm in the process of selling my possessions so I can move somewhere cheaper to save some money and think about what the hell I want to do with my life. Not Katie Burton's life. Not Liberty Connor's life.
I know I can write now. I don't need to lock myself in a room with a bottle of wine, praying for some inspiration. I want to be a writer full time and I'm going to figure out how, because staying holed up in an expensive flat with no plan isn't going to help me.
You're probably wondering why I mentioned the Sex and the City quote earlier. In truth, I can't tell you why it's resonating with me so much - it doesn't make much sense but for some reason I can't get the dialogue out of my head....
Carrie: I can't stay in New York, and be single for you.
Carrie: This is about you, as long as I'm here in the same place writing my column then nothing has really changed.
Miranda: No, this is about you.
Carrie: No, you moved on, Charlotte moved on, even Samantha moved on. I can stay here and write about my life or I can go and live my life.
Wish me luck.
I'll keep you posted ;-)