It’s the end of another month where life is still topsy-turvy. In the UK, coronavirus restrictions are beginning to ease, yet that brings with it more stress as people acclimatise to new ways of doing things. So, while it’s been nice to have socially distanced coffees with friends and quickly visit the local art shop, I’m still unlikely to venture out much.
In May, I wrote about how I was rediscovering my favourite things (insert Julie Andrews impression here) and that they were helping me get through lockdown. I think something in my mindset has shifted again in the last month because I’m finding it harder than before to concentrate and get things done. Unfortunately, the area this has had most impact on is my creativity. Specifically, it’s thrown my editing brain well out of balance.
Now, I’ve always been able to edit more effectively away from home. I think it’s a clutter thing – I work best when I remove myself from the house and take my manuscript into a public setting. Much of the editing of my first three novels (But By Degrees, Valerie and Amy) took place in Create, my favourite café in Wakefield. Other coffee shops were frequented in the pursuit of a final draft but Create remains the place where I do my best work.
Such Crooked Wood was edited partly at Create and partly in my garden following the lockdown. As I’d already committed to my release date, I had to get it done and it gave me something to focus on in the early stages of lockdown. Since then, I’ve completed a first draft (about 40,000 words of a novel that’d been languishing in a drawer for several years) and written 35,000 words of the third novel in my Valerie Series. What I really need to do, though, is edit one of the (many) projects crying out for attention so I can schedule my next release.
I’ve sat down with documents marked up ready for editing but my brain refuses. There’s a little bit of “what’s the point” in there coupled with the same old self-doubt I have to battle every time I start a draft of anything – I think the combination might be immobilising me. It’s frustrating, especially because editing is my favourite part of the writing process. It’s where the magic happens, yet it feels as though the magic isn’t there anymore.
I’m battling it. I’ve decided to reread the drafts of my various WIPs and refresh my memory on what the edits/rewrites/complete overhauls need to be done before the novels can progress. So far, I’ve got notes for three novels, leaving seven to go. Along with that, there are three novels in the first draft stage which could be finished if I pushed myself.
I don’t feel like me when I’m not working on a novel, but it’s safe to say the pandemic’s having its effect. Let’s hope we’ll all come through this stronger than we were before.