When I started this journey, I imagined the hardest bit would be actually finishing a book to a publishable standard. That was my goal, I couldn't imagine it actually getting published, but a girl's got to dream, so I made that my ultimate aim. I thought that would give me a whole lifetime's worth of motivation to keep writing, keep getting better.
It isn't quite like that now. Yes, I'm still enjoying writing enormously, but there is a sense of going to work that's there too. This week I was sent an author's questionnaire from the publisher, and worked on a synopsis for my editor. This required thought and research and writing. In fact, yesterday my 2000 words was all taken up with this outside work. When the book comes out, there will be promotional events to attend, more work away from writing. There's emails flashing back and forth about the cover, timetables, and the copy edits which should be back soon to worry about. I have to write some acknowledgements to all the lovely people who have supported and encouraged me over the years, and a historical note to the Dee strand to apologise for playing fast and loose with actual history. I'm not complaining, it's all a fascinating new challenge, but it doesn't make it easy to write/rewrite book 2. It takes the focus away from close and internal to broad and external.
I'm also, personally, on another journey. I was widowed young, enjoyed twelve years of singledom (happy mostly, sometimes lonely) and then met the love of my life. Which meant putting my writing on the back burner for some years to bring up more children, and that was a great and fulfilling chapter. But now I want to focus back on my relationship and work, and I find I need to be alone more.
I enjoy company, but in a family it all gets a bit intense. We've thought about buying a caravan, parking me for a few weeks somewhere I'm inspired and cutting out all the distractions and giving me real time out. But the ultimate version of that would be a get-away-from-it-all, off-the-grid cabin in the field where several friends already have their retreats. I would have a base on the Island where most of my friends live, where I could retreat to for a week or two, and we would have a great holiday home for our various kids who also have close friends on the Island. So we're saving up my 'book money' and hope to buy one in the next couple of years. My main character is a bit of a loner, and I think that side of me would enjoy the peace and quiet, a bit like I did down in Winchester. Russell works in Southampton, so will be regularly down and can bring the youngest child. It could be fun...but they don't come up for sale very often. We'll see what happens.