I should be writing.
Well, I am writing. Obviously. That’s why you’re seeing letters on your screen. But what I mean is I should be writing my next novel. It’s about Jake. Remember Jake? The big, gorgeous, hunk of a man who is a cross between a Dothraki Warrior and Tarzan. He’s the next Thornton Brother on my list. At the moment the story has no title so I keep calling it Jake’s story. But the thing is, it’s not really Jake’s story, just as the first four books weren’t Gabe’s and Tyler’s story. They were Lauren’s. And who will be the main character in Jake’s story . . . . you’ll just have to wait and see. But I can tell you this. If you’ve read the first four books in the series, you’ve met her before.
So why aren’t I writing?
Because I’ve had the last two weeks off and this is my first day back. The thing is, I love writing. I adore it. I constantly get lost in the stories I make up in my mind. I have notepads and apps and things all over the place to keep track of the ideas that pop into my head, but despite all that, the moment I have a break and then decide to sit back down at the keyboard, I procrastinate. I’m yet to figure out why. Why not just plunge in and do it? I know I’ll enjoy it when I do. I’ll get that sense of accomplishment. Achievement. That satisfaction of getting shit done. I even tweeted that yesterday. And it was true. I did get shit done. Just not anything to do with writing.
So I make excuses in my head.
The kids are home. I can’t write with the kids home. I get so trapped in my head, so stuck in my own world that noises around the house are just a distraction. Not to mention the heads poking through the door to ask what’s for lunch, or where they left their phone chargers. They’re teenagers now. We’ve been on holiday. We’ve had Christmas and New Year. It’s back to work time. But it’s not back to school time. Not yet . . .
There’s this book I want to read. An author friend of mine has given me the start of her novel. I’m excited to read it. I want to read it. I can’t wait to read it. But I probably shouldn’t read it when I’m supposed to be writing . . .
I should be vacuuming the house.
Doing the washing.
Cleaning the kitchen.
Mowing the lawns.
Or any number of things related to housework . . .
There’s a TV series I’m currently obsessed with. I do that. There are great series, moving series, intelligent series, captivating. All the words. And then there are ones I get obsessed with. Usually, these are longer series. Ones where I get to know the characters and literally morn their company once I’ve finished everything there is to watch about them. Dexter was one. Friday Night Lights was another. The Good Wife. How to Get Away with Murder. And now it’s Scandal. I’d never watched it before and once I discovered it, that was it.
Olivia and Fitz forever.
I love a good triangle.
During my time off, if I had a few moments spare, I would watch an episode. Or part of an episode. Or maybe like five in a row. But I don’t allow myself to watch any television or movies during the day when I’m working. I’d never get anything done. But that still doesn’t stop me thinking about it . . .
My writing muscles have waned. I read a quote by Jane Yolen once. “Exercise the writing muscle every day . . . Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” I believe this to be true. I haven’t picked up a pen or pressed a key (other than social media) for two weeks. My muscles have seized up. Even though it’s something I want to do, it’s something that is harder now than when I was in the habit of doing it daily. But I will get back there. I will ease myself into it.
Maybe by writing a blog.
I’ve been thinking about writing a new blog post for a while now. You see, I’m pretty bad at them. I think of things to write and then I talk myself out of it. Who would be interested in that? Why would anyone care? And so, I just don’t. But I have been thinking about it. Last year I wrote my top reads of the year. My top TV watches. Most authors do a year in review post. I’ve thought about those. But I still didn’t do it. I was supposed to over the holidays, but I didn’t. I should have. Maybe it would have kept those muscles from seizing up as much as they have.
I had a good year in 2018. It was my first full year of publishing. I released five novels and two novellas.
This year I hope to do the same. Maybe more. Maybe less. I’d love to do more, but there are other things such as my day job, my husband, my children and the house that also require attention. I often dream about booking a secluded house somewhere, locking myself in and writing until my heart is content. I might get a whole novel done in a couple of weeks. Imagine that! But then I think about the movies or books I’ve seen where an author shuts themselves away, cuts themselves off from the rest of the world determined to get that story out. It never ends well.
As mentioned above, Jake’s story which isn’t really Jake’s story, is the next book on my agenda. How long is it going to take? Goodness knows. Well, I do have goals and plans, I’m actually a rather organised person, but I don’t like to let anyone know just in case I don’t accomplish them. I’d prefer not to let anyone down. That’s why there are never months of lead up to a release. I write a story and it’s not until the process of editing etc when I have a firm indication of a release date that I ever really post anything. Maybe I should change that. Maybe I shouldn’t.
There are a few other ideas in my head that I can’t wait to get stuck into. At the moment they are standalone novels. But so was Don’t Say A Word and look what happened to that. Now it’s a trilogy. I want to write another dark romance. It will be completely and utterly different from the Requested Trilogy and will centre around a married couple. Another idea is for a project that I’ve already named in my head as The Preacher’s Son. I want that one to rip your heart out. And then there’s the idea for . . . you get the picture. Too many ideas. Not enough time. So I must tackle them one at a time until they are done. Then, I’ll let you know.
I ended the year by going camping with family and friends. It’s somewhat of a tradition for us. Usually, we travel five odd hours to camp on the shores of a lake that spreads below the highest mountain in NZ, but this year, my husband had to work the days in between the public holidays so we didn’t get to venture as far. It was still a good spot. A picturesque spot, even if the weather wasn’t as good. But we were inundated with flies. Not just sandflies either. They were tiny little grass flies of some sort. We were sitting in the gazebo one night when we noticed them. I’d seen them during the day, just the odd swarm that took to the air if you disturbed the grass they settled in and looked dark against the blue sky. Nothing to worry about. But when hubby lit the gas lantern, we could see them all over the tent. They clung to every surface. They weren’t flying around, they were just sitting there staring at us. It was uncomfortable. For them. For us. They wondered why we had invaded their home. We were thinking the same. So out came the fly spray. Then we sat there as flies fell on us like tiny droplets of rain.
I also went to visit the Cathedral Caves, a spot I hadn’t seen since I was 11. Back then, anyone could just wander along the beach and explore as long as the tide was out. But now you have to pay. I was fine with that. They keep the access tracks and roads clean and tidy. But I couldn’t get over the number of people that were there at the same time as us. I counted over 100 cars in the carpark. Where did they all come from?
The caves were smaller than I remembered, but that happens as you get older and you revisit the memories from your childhood. The rain chased us along the beach, but thankfully it didn’t start falling until we were back under the canopy of the trees.
There was a 2km walk to the caves. It was fine as we walked down, but the heat of the day got to me as we walked back up and I’m afraid that the smile plastered on my face was in strict contrast to the colour of my cheeks and the sweat that dotted my forehead. I was going for the ‘I‘m fine! I’m all good. I love walking uphill in the heat of the day with the humidity of the rain. I do it all the time’ look. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t fool anyone. Not even the kid that overtook me, whistling with ease as he walked up the steep trail.
I also did some shopping. There was a little town nearby. One that boasted Teapotland. The front yard of someone’s house was covered in teapots. Big ones. Small ones. I’m not sure why. I don’t know what would make someone cover their front yard in teapots, but I rather glad they did. Makes the world more interesting. But that’s not where I went shopping. No. That was at a little store which, according to the sign outside, was the home of the happy hippy. The lady that ran it only does so during our Summer. In the winter she travels all over the world sourcing the products for her shop. I bought something there because I couldn’t not. It wasn’t something I needed, or even something I particularly wanted, but I couldn’t not buy it. I probably won’t ever wear it. Well, not in public anyway, but it intrigued me. And it made me chuckle. That’s why I bought it.
New Year was spent on the beach in front of a bonfire and watching fireworks. Well, that was until some idiot behind us starting letting off those flare ones by holding in vaguely in the direction of the sky while choking a beer in the other hand. Each time it exploded in the air, little pieces rained down on us. Much like the flies of the night before. My daughter got nervous at that. So did I. We left.
The following day we bought an ice cream from a man who claimed to have once been a circus performer. A slap-stick clown, he said. The sort that likes to light his hair on fire. His words, not mine. His dream was to live in the outback of Australia or the mountains of Canada. But in the meantime, he sold ice creams at a place that boasted curiosities and had a skeleton of a sheep riding a bike on the side of the road. At least I think it was a sheep. If you turned the handle its mouth and feet moved.
He showed us a trick with a couple of those soft balls. The ones you play hacky-sack with. If we could hold one in the palm of our hand while balancing the other between two outstretched fingers above it, and then swap them over by tossing them into the air and catching them, our ice creams would be free. In the end, we paid for the ice creams.
When we arrived home the cat had vomited four times.
Do you see what’s happened here? Just typing this blog, writing down some random thoughts and ideas, well, it’s warmed my fingers up like those first few stretches at the gym. (Argh. Another thing I’m yet to get back into for the year.) And in the process, I’ve written (according to the counter at the bottom of the screen) 2143 words.
Now I feel like writing.
But the kids are calling. They are hungry. And the husband just walked in the door. He needs a shirt ironed. And I wonder what Olivia and Fitz . . .
Tomorrow is a new day.
Make that 2185 words.