Withdrawal symptoms

I’ve thought of doing a blog for a while, but resisted it until now. I’m a secretive kind of writer - the finished product is public, but I like to keep the process private. Also, a blog seems a bit like having a conversation with yourself - cyber navel-gazing? But I’ve begun to wonder if doing a bit of that will help me through what seems to be what psycho-jargon calls ‘a transitional point’.

My life is totally directionless at the moment - rather like standing in a hallway surrounded by doors, all shut and none of them labelled. I’ve just finished the Katherine Mansfield biography, and my stint as Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Teesside university, which I thoroughly enjoyed, has also come to an end. The money will be hard to do without and it was really stimulating to be in the company of other writers - sharing an office with Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby was fun. Carol Clewlow and Marion Husband were also in the department, though I didn’t see them very often.

Finishing a book is strange - you go through a period of what I can only describe as bereavement. For five years my life has been driven by and centred round Katherine Mansfield. Now, she’s gone and I hardly know what to do with my time. I feel totally lost. There’s quite a bit of administrative work still to do - the permissions, the illustrations and the editing - both of which are quite tedious. Do people realise how much work there is at the business end of writing? Or how long it takes for a book to get published after you finish it? The first draft of KM went to my publisher in January and I completed the rewrites at the beginning of May, but it could be spring 2010 before it appears.

I should probably be lying in the garden with a glass of wine in my hand, soaking up the sun, but I can’t suddenly stop writing, so perhaps keeping a blog will help the withdrawal symptoms until I have a new project. Any ideas out there for another book?


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