Sunday, 27 July 2014

Getting back to writing...

Writing is a discipline, it's a task to apply yourself to, it doesn't happen without effort or planning.

My writing was interrupted for several months, and all the timescales for completion and publishing have passed and the the final few chapters have still to be written.

Sometimes circumstances change and the ability to think creatively isn't there, but I feel I'm ready to move my life forward rather than dwell on the past. I cannot change the past. I can, however, change my future. I can allow week after week to drift or I can knuckle down and start to work again.

I have decided it is time to knuckle down. Time to set new timescales for completion and publication. 

I probably last wrote anything significant in February. I have written over 200 pages, I am halfway through Chapter 22. I have only 3 or 4 more chapters to write to complete the first draft.

Come on, girl, there is too much work done to leave it all behind.

This week I planned my weekend. Saturday would be a day to do all my jobs around the house leaving Sunday free. It would begin again Sunday... TODAY!

I have actually missed writing, missed seeing my story come together, missed my characters interacting but my brain was too fuzzy to see the story. Once I had planned to start again today, I found plot lines beginning to form days ahead of my target start date.

So, my plan for today was to have a day out, away from the house, away from the temptation to just do a few more jobs before sitting down and starting work. It seems such a long time since I worked on my book that the first thing I needed to do was to re-read what has already been committed to paper. And yes, although it is all done on my laptop, I really have it all printed out. It gives me a sense of how much work I have done, I find a sense of achievement seeing the folder grow thicker and I find it easier to work through to edit, proofread and generally add ideas. 

I have moved house recently and need a new local National Trust place to visit, somewhere without the memories of my previous life. I chose Hardwick Hall, the home of Bess of Hardwick. It's only a couple of junctions down the motorway, takes about 15 minutes (when you don't go the wrong way... but that's another story). 

I knew it would be busy today, we are still in the midst of a very hot, sunny English summer. I chose not to take my big camera, that was not the purpose of today. Today was about re-connecting with my book. The plan was to find a nice corner and settle myself down with a cappuccino and my manuscript and to spend some me time reading my creation. Due to the 45 minute journey I had, I was ready for a coffee as soon as I arrived and headed straight for the restaurant. Even though it was almost noon, there were plenty of tables outside, with or without shade and I settled myself down and began to read. I lost track of time, and when I finally glanced up I realised all the tables around me had filled up. My backside felt a little numb and I decided it would be good to take a break, have a walk and see some of the house.

There are 2 houses at Hardwick, one ruin and one complete. I walked over to the ruin first and took the audio tour. It was remarkably interesting and the views from the top of the old hall were stunning, due to the clear weather. 

From the old hall, you can look across to the new hall, an impressive building designed to portray Bess's wealth and standing in society. When Mary, Queen of Scots took refuge in England, Queen Elizabeth the first saw her as a threat to the throne of England and so she detained under the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess (of Hardwick).

History lesson over, I promise. Any of you wanting to know more can Google Hardwick Hall and Bess of Hardwick.

Walking around the new hall was fascinating, it was opened in 1597 and it occurred to me as I walked around that it was probably very similar to the stately homes and palaces of Charles II, the time of the plague and the setting for my book, (1665). I felt a real connection with my novel as I wandered from room to room, visualising my characters there. I could not have chosen a better place for my visit.

Having completed my walk around the house I spent the next hour wandering around the gardens, seeing the splendour of the hall along the lawned avenue

And, as I wandered through the wooded paths came across this little folly in the base of a tree ... no explanation, just very cute.

Just goes to show you need to explore everywhere.

Walk over, houses explored I headed back to the restaurant for a further coffee and a chance to read a few more chapters.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day, I began to enjoy my book again and started to feel ready to write more. I am about halfway through reading it, and have already found a couple of inconsistencies, so more has been achieved than just re-familiarising myself with the story so far...

Now, my mind is buzzing and my fingers are itching... more coffee and several more chapters to read before I can start work, time to get the frothy coffee on.

Watch this space, my target now is to have this published in time for the Christmas market.

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