With the help of my radio, a cuppa and a croissant, I am finally winning the race to finish novel 2. I say "finish" when actually I completed it in 2007 - see, that's when I wrote the first draft, after staying in my lovely St Ives on holiday in a cute little cottage called "Trecara".
Back in the winter of 2007 whilst on that holiday, I read 'Jamaica Inn' by Daphne Du Maurier and bought a cook book by Joanna Weinberg called 'Relish'. Weinberg's original and aspirational cooking ideas and recipes inspired important traits in the characters and plot, whilst Du Mauriers passion for Cornwall and Cornish history in 'Jamaica Inn' fuelled my desire to set Novel 2 in my beloved Cornwall - St Ives to be precise.
Over the months I've been editing and revising, I've read a number of books and been inspired by many things, most of which feature in the book in some form. There are references to the passionate and exquisite writing of 'Frenchman's Creek' also by Du Maurier (and currently featured in Cath Kidston's book group) and there is a damned big nod to Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights'.
Draft 3 has been much easier than the other 2. I can pin point in the book a time when I felt more settled in myself and with what I was writing - the sentences flow and the characters are now 3 dimensional. I am happy to say it is almost complete, but now I am apprehensive about how readers will perceive it.
I laid in bed last night with this heavy on my mind. I'm constantly tired at the moment and my mind doesn't stop working. I told Big Fella I was going to give up writing, that I'm not sure I want to do this to myself anymore - is anyone listening? Does anyone care? I said I need something more fulfilling - I need recognition I am good at something.
An incident at my boys' nursery yesterday prompted a further dip in self-confidence as a member of staff dismisses me in favour of a smarter well turned out 'yummy mummy'. I feel furious and think - I was/am a professional too! Just because I choose to wear jeans and Converse to "work" and not a trouser suit and name badge it doesn't make me any less worthy! I get this all the time - I recently went to our local shop and bought a bottle of wine worth £8.99, the assistant looked at me (and the boys in tow - JB screaming in his buggy for an apple and Little Fella shifting off with a handful of sweets shouting "mummy I can have these they don't have gelatine in them) and she says "this is £8.99," and I say "sorry?" and she repeats it and I say "yes, I know, that's fine." and then I reckon she thinks my debit card is going to fail - which it doesn't, to he shock and disappointment. Yes I sound neurotic and I probably am, but the thing is I was once that professional woman in smart clothes and a name badge, but I gave it up to be a bloody writer and write novels - and now I wonder.
Anyway, Big Fella, despite suffering sleep deprivation, listens to me in bed and says "if you don't believe in yourself, how can anyone else believe in you?" I wiped my eyes and nodded; I know he's right but it isn't that easy - the truth is I have been conditioned to work 9-5 and bring in money, not write for free.
On a lighter night, "Hope & Jump" is brilliant (hum, not bias) - it reminds me of those heady passionate days I first penned it. I visit the places that inspired me (in particular Tate St Ives) and know I am doing the right thing. I know it's cliche, but blood, sweat and tears indeed, and as I sit in the little room with a bed and a desk that is my writing space I know I am nearing the end of another adventure. Sometimes I think I don't want to do another one, but I know I already have 2 more waiting. It's ridiculous and sometimes I wish I wasn't blessed/cursed with it.
So, today I will spent yet another day editing. In Word format there are 420 pages; I am on page 273. Time is not on my side, but I have chosen to dedicate my life to this, wishing I could perhaps sew and make dolls and cushions like all those wonderful craft ladies whose blogs I follow and who do so well.
I keep my chin up.
Anyway, one amusing thing Big Fella did say to me when I was grumbling to him about the nursery incident last night was, apparently writers have the biggest ego's - I laughed - ego? What the hell is an ego? If a big ego is turning up to your kids nursery wearing old sweat pants and a t-shirt slung on from last night, hair scraped back and no make up, then onto slaving over a laptop all day not knowing if anyone really cares about the words you write then yeah, my ego is huge!
OK, so I'm taking a breath and will shortly be plying myself with more coffee. I'm getting to a really gripping part in the novel so I am excited, and just incase you didn't know or hadn't heard, the above picture will become the cover for the new novel and was actually a commission and a scene from the book - which always makes me smile.
Thanks for listening