You know you had a great night with the boyfriend when you get up and find all your clothes scattered all over the living room floor. Smiled to myself when I picked up my bra flung across the back of the sofa and fished out B’s underwear from underneath it. However, for as mind blowingly amazing as my love life is, my relationship with Alice has been a little up and down this week. Monday and Tuesday I couldn’t stop writing and ended up with two more chapters I felt really pleased with, but then it went a bit pear-shaped from there. Wednesday the goddamn bitch had gone AWOL and when I finally found her yesterday she just refused to cooperate.
I’m pretty much on target for my initial word count target of 7,000 words per week, but given how I’ve decided to have a first draft ready by the end of this month, I need to seriously get on it. At the 43,000-mark I find myself at, I need to knock out a further 57,000 if I want to head into December ready for criticism and the long editing process. And countless rejection letters too, no doubt, even though I’m not too worried about those – it’s the salt and pepper in any writer’s life, so hey ho.
B faithfully reads everything of course, and yesterday when we talked about it again, he raised a couple of really good points. Good because I agree with what he said, but bad because it’s giving me a bit of a headache. Why is Alice now suddenly BFFs with her elderly neighbour, when they’ve both lived in the building for the past 11 years but never before have exchanged so much as a ‘hello’? Of course, this is all clear in my head and it’s the very curse of writing a novel – show, not tell. I need to show it better, allow the reader to be privy to all the things that mean their somewhat unlikely friendship makes sense. I always knew it would be hard to write a book, and this is indeed something I do struggle with and always have done – it’s like when you know exactly where you’re going, but the person with you doesn’t, how you just assume they’ll magically just know that at the next corner you’re taking a left. I’m a bit like that when I write, I think.
I know where Alice is heading, along with all the others. I know them all inside out, but I think I sometimes fail to recognise that the reader doesn’t, and I need to iron out these kinks or it will be the strangest and most confusing book ever written, and only result in a growing pile of returned copies of the manuscript in self addressed envelopes from miffed literary agents.
This morning has been equally slow. Kept working on the chapter I started on yesterday, and although Alice isn’t as difficult to deal with today as she was yesterday, I once again find myself in that place where I’m finding a million other things to do. R keeps saying I should stop myself when this happens, stop and witness what’s actually going on – what’s the inner voice saying when this is going on? What’s really happening when I get to the just-gonna-read-the-news-first stage…. Just-gonna-do-some-laundry-first, or just-gonna-clean-the-kitchen, or whatever the ‘just-gonna’ is just then.
The terrifying thing is I’m scared to check. What if the inner voice just tells me that the reason I’m not getting on with the writing just now is because I’m no good and I have nothing to say? No, that’s not it. Gosh, what’s up with me today? It’s rare that I have moments when I feel down on Alice, but perhaps I should just recognise it for what it is – a few down days. We all have them, I’m sure.
B’s working from home and is on conference call #2 of the morning, it’s budget season and he’s got his uh-oh serious voice on, all loud and baritone. Sexy. He’s sexy even with that handle bar tash on his face, wearing pyjama bottoms and a dressing gown. I don’t know any other human being who can still be insanely hot with a tash like that. God, there must be something wrong with me. Or, as more likely is the case, I just happened to bag myself the most wonderful man to ever walk the planet.