It’s been a long time. Approaching a year, in fact. My last post was in September and so much has happened since then it seems like a lifetime ago.
I stopped blogging because my health was declining. In October 2015 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia to accompany the M.E. I already have. The end of 2015 saw me trying to get back to an even keel by focusing primarily on my well being.
The start of this year saw me back to work – which took a while to acclimatise to after a two month absence. For a while it was all I could do. Writing seemed like an energetic luxury but I managed some, and I thought I might be ready to start submitting to agents.
Huddersfield Literature Festival in March opened up some new possibilities. I heard from an independent publisher who spoke passionately about how they can support authors and build their careers over time. It’s an avenue I’m still considering and one I shall be researching in the near future.
Going on an Arvon Writing Retreat in April changed me. I was immensely lucky to be able to attend one of these courses and I learned so much in five days that it was a shock to come back to ‘real life’. It was here I met Kerry Young – one of the authors leading the workshops. She was brutally honest with me about some of my writing, but gave me enough support to drastically improve one pivotal scene early on in the manuscript. It was exactly what I needed, and if/when my novel is published her name will certainly get a mention. It wasn’t an easy week but it was totally worth it. My writing has developed; it has purpose with sharp edges and tight, nuanced sentences.
And so, it was back to the editing again. I was so relieved I hadn’t started submitting before the Arvon course. The manuscript I am now shaping is the best I can make it, and I think it’s good – good enough to proudly send out into the world and not feel disheartened when the inevitable rejections come.
It’s taking time though. As always. And sometimes I have to step away for a while to recharge. Or when some tragedy happens, such as the passing of my adorable rescue Westie Mac who has left a huge hole in my heart and my life because I no longer have a constant writing companion. Walking is no longer a necessity and the lack of fresh air and thinking time stifles me. Mac is another name that will one day make it into the acknowledgements; he arrived just as I was starting my first novel and it is sorrowful that he is not around to see me finish it and get it out into the world.
Yet, the reason I’ve come back to the blog is because I was given the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. It was rejuvenating to be surrounded by people so passionate about books and reading and writing. I’d forgotten how much energy can be created by so many creative minds all in one place. And blogging is a virtual space for that.
So I’m back. I have no idea what I’ll write about from here on in, but I do know that I want to share my journey again. In the meantime, the Festival provided me with a suitcase of new books to read and hopefully they’ll inspire me to keep writing my own.