In the last twelve weeks, I’ve written less than ever in my life.
The only thing I’ve been consistently writing is a sort of diary, each entry covering a week of my new life and usually scribbled down at 3am with my baby daughter dozing off on one shoulder. As a first-time mother, I’m learning that writing can be squeezed into tiny spaces and that even on four hours sleep, I can be imaginative (though it’s a slog). When my babysitter’s here (and I wouldn’t have a hope of finishing Dreamrunner without her), I write in the next room, separated by a glass door that doesn’t shut properly, and with constant, happy interruptions – I’m welling up with empathetic emotion while writing a dramatic scene in the novel when suddenly it’s time to feed the baby, or I’m rushing to form an idea which could really be something when I need to go through and sit with my pretty little girl snuggled to my chest until she falls asleep, before transferring her to the sitter and going back to my laptop.
So I’m writing Dreamrunner in a helter-skelter sort of way, not really pausing to look back at this stage as I just don’t have the leisure to. It’s a new way of writing – I used to love editing and re-editing my chapters as I went along, inserting new threads and removing all the extraneous stuff, and just fiddling – and so far, this new way is exhausting (there are times when I’d honestly rather be catching up on lost sleep) but it’s good, too, because it’s teaching me to be flexible with my writing.
I’m realising that novel-writing doesn’t have to be done in peace, by the sea; it doesn’t have to be done in grand instalments, nor does it have to be an intensely private, don’t-you-dare-look-over-my-shoulder endeavour. It’s a word-by-word thing, so it can be grabbed here and there… kind of like lost sleep. J