What am I up to these days?
I am lucky as I can work out there in the world while everything changes around us and a new, strange uncertainty fills the air. I wear a mask in public, and wash my hands carefully, and trying not to touch my face. I am tired today and want to rub my eyes, but it’s better not to.
After work, I write. I write and I write and I write, to escape to another place and time, when everything was the old normal. Remember then?
I go further back, to the Nineteenth Century, where I attempt to reanimate places and people who are beyond memory. Here I am the author of all that is seen and felt, although sometimes I feel I am simply a channel for the stories that spill onto the page.
I am old school, favouring a pen and a bound notebook that slips easily inside my workbag. I can sit on a train and scrawl, not worrying about glare, battery life or my laptop being too big for a lap in the real world. It means too that mistakes or diversions must simply be written past, knowing that their resolution will lie in the second draft.
One thing I have learned is that the story will not write itself if I am not there to hold the pen, and it will never get to the finish line if I keep returning to previous chapters to redo thoughts, words or deeds. I don’t care if what I write has much merit beyond entertainment. It entertains me, and is more fun than watching the multitude of ‘doing up the house’ repeats on UK television.
I have four and a bit first drafts of this detective series wrapped in notebooks. One has made it to beta-reader stage, another is currently going through its second draft and the fourth is simply awaiting the pen. There is my ‘writer’s process’ in a nutshell.