Cognac and Human Nature

Never again will I make fun of the Man Cold. My little sniffle has turned into what has got to be at LEAST as bad as whatever it is that B is suffering with, its most prominent sympton now also evident in me: an overwhelming sense of self pity. Yep, I have caught the Man Cold too. My sinuses feel as if someone’s filled them with cement, every time I cough (every 20 seconds, I’d say) it feels like someone’s using sandpaper down my throat, and I have a throbbing headache that’s situated sort of behind my eyes and it’s making me squint. Yep – poor, poor lil’ ol’ me.

Went to sleep having pulled B so close he was half on top of me as I tried to steal his body heat, but then slept really badly. Tossed and turned, couldn’t get comfortable, too hot one minute only to be shivery and cold the next, and any time I did drift off to sleep I ended up having nightmares. Don’t remember much of them now, except I was in this big, old empty house and Kathy Bates was in the dream too. No, not the real version, but rather the character she plays in Misery. Yeah, the film based on the Stephen King book. You get the idea.

Got up this morning with B and could barely speak, my voice was so croaky. I probably sounded like a slightly sweeter version of Janis Joplin, or someone who’s had a slug of cognac with breakfast. Had vitamin bombs with B along with Lemsip, but it’s not doing much good at all, still feel awful and have spent most of the morning shivering under the duvet despite being fully clothed. No doubt I have a temperature too. Oh gosh, 100% Man Cold, this feeling ever so sorry for myself can’t be anything else.

Just realised that this is my 100th post on this blog! Whoo! Not that all of it is particularly interesting, but then again it wasn’t really meant to be – I only started this blog to get myself back into the flow of writing. To begin with, I probably forced myself. And it worked. Now, when I write on here, I literally just open the laptop, log on here, set the timer to 20 minutes and start typing away. That does mean that my posts aren’t thought through whatsoever – I literally just write whatever pops into my head, which was the whole point anyway.

I am now officially over half way done with the first draft of Alice and if we disregard for a moment how drab and crap I feel today, I am SO excited about it. It really does feel real now, and even though I don’t think I’ll end up having it done by the end of this month, it’s not far off and it’s really coming together. I’m going to check in with the editor today to see when I can expect their full comments on the first three chapters. I’m not even worried about that anymore – I think I know some of Alice’s weaknesses as it is, so there are some things I expect them to say, but either way it’ll be a huge help and so what if I have to do a lot of editing. That’s just part of it.

Before, I used to be so sensitive to criticism. Five years ago, a literary agent told me the project I was working on had “huge potential” and advised me on the things they wanted me to work on – i.e. rewrite, remove, change, etc. I swear to God, I filled with so much self doubt that the first time I read through their reply I actually missed the line “we feel this book has huge potential”. Crazy, eh? So this time I’m trying to reframe it all so I can stop myself from ending up like that again, in a place where I let it all fizzle out because self doubt defeats me. I will take it as CRITIQUE, not CRITICISM. Huge difference. And you need friction to create the spark that creates a huge fire or even an explosion.

I’ve thought about this a lot. To be honest, if I, say, read a book I thought was really crap, I would struggle to criticise it. Or give a critique, as it were. I wouldn’t be inspired to do so. But even with my favourite books, the books I could read several times over, I would be much more inclined to analyse and consider the shortfalls and gaps – because those always exist. So to allow myself to beat myself up if they even go as far as to tell me some parts or aspects of it are complete rubbish, what’s the point? I’m going to really listen this time, really hear what they tell me and not just let the less than positive points get to me.

Always the way though, perhaps it’s human nature, this tendency to allow negative or mean comments to reach us on a deeper level and linger there so much more than kind words and compliments? Especially if something is aimed at your Achilles heel? And let’s face it, my writing is my Achilles heel – it’s my passion – so maybe it’s only natural to take it to heart if someone tells me it’s not up to scratch.

But hey, if they do say exactly that – that it’s not up to scratch – I will work my arse off until it is. I mean, that’s what editors are for. Help you knock things into shape.

Time to drag my feverish self to the shower. Just the thought of slipping out of my trackie bottoms and B’s huge hoodie makes me feel cold. Poor me. Having the Man Cold sucks.

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