I just found out what it’s like to live inside my head for a month.
I had a request for the manuscript of my novel: huzzah! The end of the summer seemed a reasonable deadline: yee-haw!
Then came advice, welcome and resented in equal parts, as good advice always is. I understood what had to be redone and rewritten, taken out and added in – aargh (gasp) aargh (repeat until nauseous)!
The Best Boss in the World agreed I could take a more than ordinary amount of time off. They could get by without me. (Huh?)
On the first day I killed 30,000 words. How I cried for them. Then I closed the curtains against summer, disabled all notifications, gritted my teeth and dived in.
Writing started while it was still dark, while I was in bed and the words still inside my head, and continued until I couldn’t tell they’re from there.
I didn’t speak to anyone but Husband, and only after 6.30pm, and only if he was willing to talk about my book, and so long as the things he said were helpful.
When I was too tired to write, I read nothing but novels from the right period and genres, watched films from the right period and genres.
I ignored my friends, unless they sounded worried, and then I told them to stop worrying and leave me alone.
Outside happened for fifteen minutes a day, because Husband insisted. I didn’t like it out there.
I liked it inside my book. Where everything was real. The homes I wrote about were more present than my own (much cleaner too). I began to think thoughts about myself that my characters would, in their tone and accent. As I wrote, I chuckled when they laughed, my eyes filled when they cried, I smoked when they did, and when they were frightened my heart knocked. Every moment mattered to them, and so to me. In the wakeful small hours, I thought about them, instead of old friends, old times.
Shortly after I had expected, it was done. Written, structure and scene edited, read aloud, printed, copy and line edited. Send button pressed.
Another blank page. I am trying to remember how to do my life. I miss theirs.
Image by Tony Gaitskell