I finished the first draft of Blue Steel Chain on Thursday. That’s very abrupt, isn’t it? I feel there needs to be some kind of introductory word just to break the ice and indicate I’m about to say something…

So, I finished the first draft of Blue Steel Chain on Thursday. I was going to take Friday off as a day of rest after the long sustained effort of writing a novel, but it turned out I had a meeting with my son and his tutor and the people from the Gender Identity Clinic and although that wasn’t exactly work, it wasn’t rest either. I then spent the rest of the day ill, so I’m not counting it as my day off. I’m still owed holiday, damn it.

On Saturday DH and I had a great time going up Mill Road in Cambridge, which we learned to love while dancing there during the Mill Road Winter Fair, but where we have never gone during less festive times. It’s lined with charity shops and eating places from all over the world. Two of our favourite things. After buying a leather jacket for £2.99, we ate a lunch of Brazilian feijoada (which as a bean stew is frankly less adventurous than it sounds) and I took my jumper off to let the sun reach my skin.

That was much more like it for a day off. But it was a Saturday, which is a day off anyway, so I don’t know if it counts as a holiday…

Heh. First World Problems.

At any rate, with the completion of the really creative part of this novel, I can feel myself shutting down. The things that interested me until now no longer interest me. I cannot find enthusiasm for reading or TV or movies or gardening or anything else. I am stilling into emptiness.

This would be more worrying if it hadn’t often happened before, but it has. I recognise it as something that happens after I’ve spent a long period of doing things, producing things, writing. It happened after I wrote my last Age of Sail story. My interest in the Age of Sail ebbed like the tide. It happened after I wrote my last Fantasy story. Now it’s happening after the third Contemporary in a row.

I begin to suspect that this is just the end of an exhale, and that now I am empty I need to give myself a time to inhale. I don’t yet know what I’m going to breathe in, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting. It’s not as though I can or should stop it, anyway. Time to accept that my times of lying fallow are as important for productivity as my times of apparent growth.

Mixed metaphors and everything! But you know what I mean, I think, and doesn’t it sound poetic?

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10 years ago

Lying fallow is vital, and staring int o space (preferably in the sunshine) is a good thing to do. And I agree – sick days do not count as holidays, so you’re due another one. Hope you’re happy with your first draft when you read it again – bit give yourself a good break first.

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