Returning Someone New

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.

Arvon

Arvon, Lumb Bank, Ted Hughes’ former home

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.

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R.I.P. Mac

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.

Crime Fest READ

At Harrogate Crime Festival, 2016

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12 responses to “Returning Someone New

  1. Glad to see you back in the blogosphere! Change is a hard thing – I know how hard it is to lose a four-legged companion (I lost mine in March). I hope you are feeling better and I look forward to more blogging from you!

    • It is a huge adaptation to be without my “little man” as I’m sure you can relate to. Sorry for your own loss. One day at a time, for the time being at least.
      Glad to see you are still out there. I have lots to catch up on! Take care x

  2. Good to see you blogging again, Cat but so sorry to hear of your struggles and the loss of your Westie. Good luck with the writing. I really hope it all comes together for you now xx

    • Thanks doll. It’s been a long road so far but I’ll make it eventually!
      Great to see your progress, looks like you’re enjoying the writer’s life. X

  3. Nice to see you back, Cat! Sounds like you’ve been through the mill. Sorry to hear about your struggles and the loss of your pet. Good luck with the challenges ahead.

  4. Welcome back!
    It’s good to know how energising these recent events have been (albeit tinged with sadness).

    x

    • It was excellent! Really enjoyed focusing on the novel for a whole week and being surrounded by like minded people. Would certainly invest in another trip in future.

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