06:45 in the morning. It’s still dark. I’ve been awake since 4:30 with ideas for my novel turning and churning – details on setting, the characters and what sort of food they’ll want to eat.
I used to set my alarm before 5 in the old days; tea in bed with my laptop as I tapped away before real life kicked in. Before emptying the dog and making packed lunches and fighting my way through a fug of Lynx to get the teens off to school and then my own madly busy day job.
It’s years since I wrote properly. It’s scary. Instead of my old Sussex morning silence broken by cockerels crowing murderously, there are empty buses rumbling out of the depot and cars grumbling around the edge of Ipswich. The neighbours have had new pipes and the white noise of traffic is punctuated by what sounds like twenty tons of grain being thrown down a mineshaft. RATTLE TATTLE rattle tattle tattle as they flush their loo. I’m glad they’re not incontinent. Not quite the creative flow I had in mind.
The last novel I wrote, about a billion years ago, was submitted for professional critique as part of some new writers scheme. The Romantic Novelists Association or somesuch. Heaven only knows why I chose them; I haven’t a romantic bone in my body. The feedback was harsh and pretty much put me off trying again. The reviewer lady didn’t like the silk paisley scarf a male character wore. She loathed the almost-sex scene because “a nice girl wouldn’t do that”. But she did say I can write. I’d sort of forgotten that bit. We’ll see.
I still think about that silk paisley scarf. I might buy one and wear it with my woolly socks and dressing gown with some kickarse red lipstick while I conjure up a world for my imperfect characters to cavort in.
There’s long way to go before I become a caped crusader of words, slaying doubt as it chases me about. But I’m here, in my clapped out telephone box, trying to squeeze into the writerly lycra before anyone notices I’ve fallen over and my bare bum’s poking out…