Today, I honestly feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. No, it’s nothing to do with dieting. If only! That’s a whole different story. Suffice it to say that I was doing quite well, until I spent a week at my daughter’s house, pet sitting and house sitting, without my husband keeping his beady eye on me. Left to my own devices, I skipped gaily around the aisles of the supermarket (I’m lying, I couldn’t skip to save my life) and filled the trolley with all the treats I have been deprived of for the last few weeks. I daren’t get on the scales now. I’m my own worst enemy, as my mother frequently points out. Thank you, Mother.
Anyway, I digress. Today – as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself – I feel a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Today, I got the urge to work on Kearton Bay Book Three. I have been avoiding it for so long that I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that. Well, write that, but you know what I mean.
I have procrastinated for so long over this book that I’ve grown a beard. Hey, it’s not my fault – it’s my hormones. Or lack of them. Or something. Anyway, I’ve shaved it off now. But the point is, I didn’t want to write it. Why? You tell me. Maybe it was because I was afraid that I couldn’t write it. You see, There Must Be an Angel took simply ages to write – two and a half years, actually. When I’d finished it, I immediately began work on A Kiss from a Rose, and although that had its ups and downs, once it got going it was a joy to write. By the time Angel was published, Rose was already finished and ready to send to the editor. There was no pressure, no worries, no stress.
When Rose was being edited, I knew I had to get on with the third novel in the Kearton Bay series. So what did I do instead? I panicked. I came up with plot lines and characters. I even wrote several scenes. Then I thought, this is rubbish. I can’t use this! So I put it all in the recycle bin, and paced up and down a lot, and ate a ton of chocolate, and lost the ability to sleep, and decided I was a total fraud who only had two novels in me. I knew I had to write something. Anything. So I wrote another story which, thankfully, was accepted by DC Thomson and published as a People’s Friend pocket novel.
Rose was published. People loved it. They wanted to know when they could read the third instalment. I sat staring at my computer in a daze. I had nothing. So I wrote another novel, with a completely different cast of characters, and a whole new setting – the Yorkshire Dales. Then I wrote a short story and that was published in The People’s Friend, this time in the magazine. And still I panicked whenever I thought about Kearton Bay. What if I couldn’t do it? What if the third book wasn’t as good as the first two? What if I couldn’t get back into the “feel” of the series? What if, what if, what if. In despair, I picked up my Kindle and read There Must Be an Angel all over again for the first time since it was published. It felt great to be back among my old friends. It was almost a family reunion!
Then, this morning, I woke up and I just knew. I wanted to write that book. I wanted to go back to Kearton Bay. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I went into my office, cup of tea in hand, switched on my computer, and began to type. As I wrote, it occurred to me that one of the scenes I was writing was similar to one I’d written all that time ago. Out of curiosity, I went into the recycle bin and dug out the thousands of words I’d written and ditched. I sat, engrossed, as I read through them. My cup of tea went cold. (It’s okay. I have a very understanding husband and he made me another one!) I enjoyed myself so much that before I knew it, it was time for lunch, and my brilliant husband brought me up something to eat. I sat there, thinking, why did I ditch all this? It’s the story I wanted to tell. It’s the story I still want to tell. What was I so afraid of? So now, those pages have been drafted back into Scrivener, along with the new words that I’ve written this morning.
There are some amendments to be made, and I still have a long way to go, but it’s looking good. Better than that, it’s feeling good. It feels right. It’s working. So the moral of the story is, never, ever delete your old work, because even if you think it’s rubbish, there may well come a time when you look at it and realise it’s exactly what you need right now. And even if it still isn’t right for what you’re working on now, it may well be just the thing in the future. Believe in yourself, believe that you can do it. And, for pity’s sake, step away from that delete button!
Have a great week! xx