Monday 6 May 2024

Mind The Gap

It often happens this way. I've chipped away at a work in progress, smoothed off the rough edges, roughed up the smooth. It's been hard work to carry the story and to go with its flow, and then the end is in sight. 

I love the feeling that it will all soon be over. That I'll finally have a finished draft and know how things eventually played out. It's one of those magical joys that deserves to be savoured and cherished, each moment treated with respect and reflection. And what do I do? Dash as quickly as I can without a care, like a child sprinting down a mountainside ignoring each and every peril. 

The rush is amazing. Not quite the high of a drug or the buzz of a roller coaster, but not far off.

And there it is. Two week's writing crammed into twenty-four hours and it's all done. I can take a planned break to do some emotional and mental recharging.  

Which is terrific, isn't it? 

Just now I'm not so sure, which may be why I'm here trying to talk myself out of the anti-climax that comes post-completion. 

On the face of it, I should be proud and delighted. I now have two finished novellas in the bag, both lying low for now. Without going into too much detail, they're collaborative pieces and the next layer of attention comes from elsewhere. I know they're both brilliant stories and I'm confident that the quality of prose is high. Having them there in the back pocket is a good feeling. One day they'll be released into the world and that will bring a new thrill all of its own.  

But today sucks. 

Bank Holiday Monday. No teaching to distract. No story to write. There's nothing to do but busy myself with the things I want to do. 

Which is the problem. 

What I want to do is write. To feed from the adrenaline coasting around my body from the delight of completion. Sketch out a short story or a poem, perhaps. Pick up the trail of something unfinished. Dive right back in and hide from whatever it is that writing allows me to ignore. 

And yet, the sensible part of me knows that would be futile. It's the break I need and I'll be all the better for it once I can settle into the temporary rhythm that lies between stories. 

So I'm twitching. Typing out this to keep my fingers busy. The washing's done, the bathrooms clean, I have a floor to mop and, later this afternoon, the steady beat of a walk will keep me sane. 

It all makes me think of the announcement on the tube when the platform is that little bit further away from the train door that is usual. Be mindful of the gap between stories. Use the time well. If you have any tips on how to do that, I'm open to all advice.  

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