A David-Shaped Disaster

I have just endured a very traumatic couple of days. Why? Because David went missing. I searched absolutely everywhere for him; places he could have been (e.g. the bedroom, my office) and even places he definitely couldn’t be (yes, I actually looked in the airing cupboard; I was desperate by this point). I racked my brains for the last time I’d seen him but this is not easy when you have a memory like Swiss cheese. I’d definitely had him with me on my last work trip to Grantham roughly four weeks ago so, when I checked in there on Tuesday night, I hoped and prayed he’d be in lost property but no such luck. The safe perhaps? No; not there either. Argh!!! By this point I was in serious panic mode.

P1050745I’m sure you’ll have realised that this isn’t a person we’re talking about. David is my third book (Discovering David to give him his full title although, as per my last post on the Write Romantics blog, that may change). I tend to refer to my books by the male names in their titles: Steven, Gary and David. Anyway, David is plotted but only half-written. I wrote about a third of him during NaNoWriMo last November (I finished Gary then moved onto David as I wasn’t at a point where it was appropriate to start a brand-new novel) and I’ve just signed up to NaNo again for next month with a view to finishing David. The thing that had gone missing was my notebook with David’s plot in it, hence the panic.

I hadn’t planned Steven but did plan Gary and David. I know in my mind the rough idea of what’s going to happen but I have a set of three gorgeous hard-backed paperblank notebooks for the trilogy. There are scribbles and ideas in Steven but Gary and David have 2 pages per chapter where I plan out roughly what will happen in that chapter. I then use a date-free planner to keep track of timeframes so I don’t talk about Christmas only to discover it’s actually February. There are a couple of reasons why I haven’t really worked on David since NaNo last year: (1) I wanted to submit Gary to the NWS so did another edit on that and then I’ve been working on a final version of Steven as a result of a final round of submissions and a publishing deal; and (2) I decided to change the plot and was far too lazy to go back to the plan and swap it round because that would mean quite a lot of work. However, I need to do that work as it’s no point starting NaNo on 1st November without a plot in place.

P1050746Which brings me back to David going missing. I am going on holiday later today. I’m off to Tenerife for a week (can’t wait because, other than a weekend ferry trip to Amsterdam and another to Bruges, I haven’t been abroad since my honeymoon nine years ago). We get back on 31st October which means I’m straight into NaNo. Which means I need to have my plot ready. I wanted to take David with me so I could sort out the plot on the plane/on evenings which our daughter is in bed but I thought I’d make a head-start on it with my trip to Grantham this week. Only David had gone missing.

I looked everywhere. I dug out all the bags/backpacks I’ve used recently in case I’d left him in there. I even had the hubby go into the attic in case it was in the overnight bag we’d taken to Blackpool recently. I looked in the DVD drawers, my Brownie bag, my photo album crate … all places it shouldn’t be but you never knew. I felt so stressed driving down to Grantham knowing I’d lost it. I absolutely hate re-doing work and, although I was going to re-plot part of the story, there were another two threads which wouldn’t be changing (Steven is Sarah’s story, Gary is her best friend Elise’s story whilst still following what happens to Sarah, and David is Sarah’s other friend Clare’s story whilst still following the other two. Clare’s story is changing but Sarah’s and Elise’s aren’t. Therefore, I needed the plots for those threads). The other thing I started worrying about was what if someone had picked it up and took it for their own story? Unlikely but, hey, I’m a writer so my imagination went to the moon and back with this one!

P1050747I got home late last night and decided I’d better do some more packing for my holidays. I rummaged in my in-trays for the tickets and booking confirmation and what did I find? David. But the ridiculous thing is that I went through the in-tray on at least five occasions when looking for him before my Grantham trip. Why does this happen? Why do things disappear and re-appear again? Are there mean Pixies residing in my office? The same ones who steal odd socks out the washing machine and who stole my Sindy ice-skating costume when I was eight? Evil little monsters.

So all is calm now. I have David safely in my hand luggage and I’m gathering my plot-changing ideas in my mind. I have my Kindle loaded with my holiday reading too. I really think this is where my Kindle is going to come into its own; about 100 titles to choose from whereas I could only justify the size and weight of a couple of paperbacks on previous holidays and hope I liked them.

I won’t be able to respond to any comments until I’m back from my hols but please don’t let that stop you leaving one; particularly if you know where those pesky Pixies take things! Have a good week or so xxx

A Space of my Own

I am very excited at the moment because I have finally got something that I’ve longed for in ages; my very own writing space. All mine.

ImageWe moved to our current house a little over three years. Our previous home had been a big Victorian three-storey five-bed end of terrace property in town. As we only have munchkin, this meant three spare bedrooms so hubby and I had an office each and there was still a spare bedroom for guests. I didn’t write as often in those days. I wanted to but I watched Emmerdale, Coronation Street and lots of other programmes until I realised that I could claw back time if I pretty much gave up TV. So I did. But I still found lots of distractions to keep me from writing.

When we moved to our current home – a newish-build four-bed house – having my own office didn’t seem that much of a priority. I’d stopped working from home and I didn’t write that often so why would I need my own space. Surely a spare room for friends and family to stay was more important? Thing was, family and friends never came to stay. We bought a new bed for the room and it’s been slept in four or five nights during three years. Whereas I have ditched the TV (mostly) and write every spare moment I have (ok, so I faff about with social media as well but I should be writing!) and have far more need for a writing space than our non-existant guests have for a bed.

ImageExcept hubby didn’t see it that way. I worked from home for a year and we shared an office and, when I started working in an office again at the start of last year, it was even harder to persuade him that I needed my own room. But then I began annoying him. Not deliberately, mind; I’m not that mean. My small desk seemed to be permanently stacked with papers and, every so often, I’d feel the urge to tidy them. Shuffling papers is apparently a distracting sound. Sometimes I like music on and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes he wanted music on and sometimes he didn’t . Yes, you’ve guessed it; these times never corresponded. He’d annoy me too. He can work with TV programmes or films streamed through his laptop. I can’t work at all if the TV is on because I’ll watch it whether I’m interested in it or not (may come from watching TV so rarely so I grab it where I can!)

It was my birthday at the start of May. A few months before, I told him that what I wanted would only cost a tin of paint and a few shelves. I wanted my own writing space. “It’s not going to happen,” he said. “It is,” I replied. And it finally has. Whether it’s three months of increased pressure that has got to him or sympathy for me having a minor health-scare last week, he’s caved in. There are conditions. I have to keep it tidy (no more piles of paperwork on my desk) and I have to make more time for the munchkin when I get in from work instead of disappearing into my writing sanctuary. I’m not convinced she’ll want my time as she’s usually watching something on TV or engrossed in a game of schools but I’ll do my best to be a better mum and try not to be insulted at the suggestion that I’m not.

ImageSo this bank holiday weekend has all been about tackling the spare bedroom. That would be the spare bedroom that had become a dumping ground because, with no staying guests, that’s what happens to spare rooms isn’t it? It took me several hours on Friday night and a couple more on Saturday morning to clear all of this out and it took me until Sunday to finish painting. I have a stretch of about a foot of unglossed skirting board to do because a large piece of furniture blocked me from doing it at the weekend. I need a couple of shelves putting up and there are still a few more boxes to unpack (not quite sure where the stuff is going to go but I’ll find somewhere eventually) but, other than that, I’m pretty much there. And I love it!

I haven’t actually done any proper writing yet i.e. on my novel rather than social media or this blog but I’m excited about doing that. I’ve surrounded myself by inspirational messages and gorgeous things. They don’t all match, there’s a complete mix of styles and colours but the room brings together the things I love – reading, writing, teddy bears and pretty things.

ImageI think hubby approves. He stood in the doorway earlier and said, “I think I might move in here”. He had the opportunity. As the one who works from home, I did say he could have this room instead (it’s slightly bigger) but he decided to stay put so he’s made his choice. This is MY space. ALL MINE!!!

Time to write … ooh, is that tea I smell? Perhaps after that then …

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