I finally feel as if Dreamrunner is behind me. The final proofs have been checked, the manuscript has been typeset and there’s nothing I can change now. I’m relieved. It was incredibly tough to write and I’m not keen to have to write something as big and untameable as a novel to a deadline again. I think even without the ‘interruptions’ of giving birth and caring for a newborn, the deadline would have pushed my writing into an uncomfortably tight space. When I compare the creative process behind this novel to that behind Breathing in Colour, I’m shocked by the difference. Breathing was a leisurely experiment into the impact of dream imagery on a novel: a perfect fiction-dreaming symbiosis. I somersaulted through synaesthesia descriptions, played with echoing imagery, incorporated my own lucid dream images into the book. It was fun!
Writing Dreamrunner had its fun moments but at times they were overshadowed by stress. I’ve learned valuable lessons from writing under pressure though: I now know I can write when I’m nearly dropping with exhaustion. I know that I can write in the tiny, precious spaces in the day when my baby is napping (and she’s really not a big daytime sleeper). And I know I can plan a novel in a non-organic, non-dreamlike way, with a chapter-by-chapter plan and word-count goals. Phew! So now I’ve written two very different novels in two very different ways. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare. My editor asked if I was planning to write another novel this year… I’m not. It’s such a brilliant feeling to know I’m absolutely free to write whatever I want to write now; there are no grandes lignes to set up, no ‘voice’ to slot back into each time I pick up my pen. I can be whoever I want to be again.
Here’s to writing freedom!