Hello and welcome to this strange and tumultuous world in 2021. It’s been quite a long time since I last blogged (seven months in fact!) and while I’m disappointed not to have kept up my blogging schedule , I think I can be forgiven because, you know, it was 2020 and all.
So much has changed since last July, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. In the UK we are in our third official lockdown and we find ourselves staring down the calendar, hoping and praying that things will get better as we head into spring.
Global pandemic aside, I have much to update you on in terms of my writing. With so much time on my hands, it was only a matter of time before I put it to good use, and I’m excited to have both finished my MA, and started a new writing project.
Creative Writing MA
I’m not going to pretend that the summer wasn’t hard, and I certainly lost my mind for a while somewhere between the short story collection and the dissertation which was absolutely ruining my life, and making me never want to hear the word ‘woman’ or ‘landscape’ again. Plus, don’t forget the job, the weather, and the sense that the world was falling apart. But, I am so pleased that everything paid off, and after handing in my work virtually at the end of August, I found out a couple of months later that I had passed my Master’s with a Distinction.
This was way more than I had hoped for, and it felt especially rewarding and fulfilling to be topping off an awful year with some good news. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have a little cry when I got the email at 11pm, and it’s been a lot easier to get over the actual sweat and actual tears of all that writing, knowing that my work was well-received in the end.
Having finished my MA, perhaps I should have given myself a little break from writing, but I was so excited to be finished with my short story collection, that I immediately relaunched myself into my novel that I began writing in February of last year. And when I say I threw myself in…
The new novel
Writing this now, I’m still a little shocked that I have managed to finish a first draft in what was about three months. It felt like something of a crazy target, but thanks to a Christmas break spent in London instead of with my family, and generally a whole load of nothing else to do, I managed to power through and complete the first draft at the beginning of January. Yes, it is relatively short. Yes, it is very much a first draft (if you know what I mean), but it still exists in some whole form, and I have been so excited and motivated it these past months.
I have lots to do on it. So much so that I’ve been a little overwhelmed and have taken some time out just to think and breathe. My aim for now is to submit for novel competitions, work on another draft, and do some more research. I know I’m being a bit cryptic, but I don’t want to give too much away while it’s in the early stages. This draft feels somehow solid and delicate. I want it to stand up on its own, but it needs a lot more support. As someone who loves ticking things off her list, I’ve had to realise this is something that is going to sit with me for a long time – which gives me plenty of time to talk about writing it!
I’ve found that I still have so much to say about the writing process – what I’ve learnt, what I’m still trying to work out, what I love and what I hate. I’ve really missed writing about writing; it’s one of my favourite things to do. And as well as being enjoyable, it really helps me to process how I’m feeling, and to reflect on my work and myself.
I hope this post will signal a triumphant return to blogging. I’m so keen to keep talking and writing about the writing process. It never ceases to amaze me how strange and wonderful and lonely it is to be a writer, and I really value a place where I can put my thoughts down.
So, consider that a promise. And I will see you in the next post.