Thursday, October 19, 2006

Write on

Well, I'm over 18,000 words into the book, with the first four chapters, plus the synopsis. I'm now halfway through chapter 5, and I'm editing and adding stuff as I go through, following feedback from a writer friend, Jacqui, who was on the Edgware Rd tube. I've been writing for about 2 weeks, and getting these18,000 words written includes taking 5 days out of writing the book this week to work on other stuff, so I'm quite pleased with progress so far.

J is off work until the first week of November when he starts his new job, so we've been doing some nest-building stuff as well. He has bought himself Grand Theft Auto game to play whilst I bash away on the computer. And he has been working too, digging up the back yard and is about to put bricks down to make a patio where the sun shines alll day and bin our rickety bench and weedy gravel. We've been into town and bought some new lights and bedlinen with the gift vouchers J got as a leaving present, ( how odd it felt, shopping in the middle of a week day) - and we've also relaxed. Properly. Without feeling guilty. I did not realise how tired I was, or how tired he was, until we stopped.

So we've been curling on the sofa in the evenings, with a bottle of red, feasting on TV series we missed. We have watched Lost series 2 part 2 ( exciting but frustrating) and we are currently working our way thorugh Life on Mars ( clever and funny). I am cooking each evening, and walking to the local butchers, greengrocers, cheese shop, bakery to buy what we need each day, squeezing fruit and sniffing herbs and talking to the shopkeepers like a 1950's French housewife. The first week after leaving work, I was on a mad deadline to get the three chapters done and a synopsis ready, and I did 15,000 words in 4 days, eating cold toast at my desk when I remembered to eat, typing for hours each day. I didn't even notice time passing. But it is pretty harrowing to write because as I write it, I am living it. So I gave myself a few days off this week. I hadn't stopped since I walked out of the office for the last time: I have been working harder since I left the job than I was when I was at work.

I need to settle into a balanced routine and get some more exercise factored into the days. That'll come, I guess. I find that I write best first thing in the morning, and if I start opening all my emails it wrecks everything, so I am going to have to be strict and not do anything apart from focus on the book until after lunch. This week has been busy because as well as the book I am helping an anti-suicide charity with a pitch for funding, talking to the police about an ongoing investigation I am helping them with, talking to another charity about coming to their AGM, working on yet another charity fundraising thing with some 7/7 passengers, and talking to a group of people who are interested in continuing with the a campaign for a 7/7 independent inquiry. Plus I still have to do my expenses from my job and hand them into my ex-employers, and try and keep the blog up as well. Oh, and teach poledancing on Tuesday nights. And I still haven't done a piece for 18 Doughty Street yet, which I feel very guilty about, but that will have to wait until next week.

I cannot think how I managed to do all this sort of stuff before AND do an advertising job. Well, I am still feeling very happy and contented with my life-changing decision. And Miff loves us being at home. She is jumping on the desk now, getting in the way of the computer screen. She is still as fat and sassy as ever. Right, I'm making some tea and then I'm going to do another 1000 words and go for a walk with the wind in my hair. Because I can. Thank God, I can. Bless this good fortune, this sense of easy freedom and the satisfaction of doing work I love.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "settling in" as a full-time writer sounds like you're making such major changes, not just the obvious ones.

I enjoy reading your work and reading about your work.

October 19, 2006 2:30 pm  
Blogger Holly Finch said...

Bless it indeed....glad you are soaking it all in...i can hear your happiness through your words...lets celebrate freedom & new kitchens soon!

October 19, 2006 2:35 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Your new life sounds fantastic; am so glad that you have found that it suits you. I'm very pleased for you and look forward to reading it when it is finshed.

Is J having a career change or staying with law?

Rachel x

October 19, 2006 2:39 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Cheers everyone! J is staying with law, but going to another firm, so he will be working as hard and as late as ever soon. But for now he is cheerfully dirty and unshaven; he is making mudpies in the yard, or what looks like something similar. I am going to take him a mug of sweet tea and laugh at him for pretending to be Bob the

October 19, 2006 2:43 pm  
Anonymous Graham O'Mara said...

Well done to the both of you

Keep up the good work


October 19, 2006 4:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You both sound like you're very happy at the moment. Good luck to you both, you deserve it...

October 19, 2006 6:42 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

Wow that sounds like you're really settled now Rachel and good luck to J for his new job. Apart from me, he's the second person I've met that's starting a new job at the beginning of November. Must be the season.

October 19, 2006 9:19 pm  
Blogger Ally said...

Good for you! Having experienced that freedom of arranging my own life, I don't think I could ever go back to an 'ordinary' job again.

Thank you for your nice comment the other day, too - much appreciated.


October 19, 2006 9:19 pm  
Blogger wildiris said...

What an inspiring post. You obviously have so much to say, and enjoying it. Sounds wonderful

October 19, 2006 11:23 pm  
Anonymous IainC said...

Whether or not you believe in destiny or pre-ordained-ness (I don't), it does feel as if out of tragedy you have found a vocation, a you-ness, which may have been dormant and not otherwise expressed. How strange that it can be that way.

(My particular recent circumstances - my excuse for not trying hard enough - keep me from achieving anywhere near the same personal satisfaction.)

Your working pattern reflects what all the writers I have heard say - more like a 9 to 5 (or whatever) than the office ever was. Watch out for the weight gain too (that's you not just Miff)!

Look forward to more (and reading the book).


October 20, 2006 11:47 am  
Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

You seem to be enjoying your new life. Go for it!

October 20, 2006 5:30 pm  
Anonymous Maria said...

I love your description of going to the shops and feeling like a 1950s French housewife. That's such a vivid picture, it's little things like that that bring your writing to life, make it stand out. It makes me smile. You are very talented, and I can't wait to read your book. Sice I live in Oregon, it might take a while to get to my local Barnes & Noble, but I have a friend in Bristol who's coming to visit me next summer, and perhaps she can pick me up a copy from WH Smith's.


October 20, 2006 11:42 pm  

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