No Team

Or Working from Home No One Can Hear You Scream

Floating downstairs in your nightie. Fresh coffee brewing. Wholemeal toast just browning nicely. The sun streaming in through the French doors. Contemplating whether to focus on character development, plot twists, structure or sharpening up some dialogue.  Decisions, decisions.

Adele Parks, J K Rowling, Maggie O’Farrell etc – That’s how I imagine you start your day. Safe in the knowledge that whatever you do will be greeted with awed pleasure and delighted applause by first agent then publisher as the deadline for delivery of the next book approaches.

I can also choose to spend a day on back story or research or the narrative arc. But I have to also choose whether to take a day’s annual leave to do it.  And the thing I find hardest is that I have no idea whether or not its worth it. I will always choose a onesie over a nightie but I will easily (and happily) spend all day with my phone on silent, in the world of my book. Concentrating on whether the choices I have made for my heros are true to character, whether each scene adds something to the story and moves it forward, culling adjectives (-ly words are the sneaky ones I have to be on my guard for apparently).

But when the sun goes down and that first gin and tonic will be ignored no longer, I have no idea whether or not I have wasted my day.  I don’t have an editor or an agent to discuss plot points with, to email drafts to for a solid opinion, to take me out to lunch and tell me how wonderful l am.  I just turn off my laptop, rub my eyes and get my lunch prepared for work the next day.  And then when my colleagues ask me if I enjoyed my day off and what did I get up to I have to decide whether to lie or tell the truth and see that odd faraway look which often drifts into people’s eyes when you explain that you are writing a book shortly before they shuffle away.

I suppose I must believe I am good enough.  That I can craft my thoughts and ideas into a book which deserves its own pile on the tables in the entrance to Waterstones.  But sat alone at my desk, cold because I don’t like to put the heating on during the day when it’s just me, I find myself staring out of the window and wondering what on earth I am doing.

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