So, if it’s even possible, today my face looks even stranger than it did yesterday. I really am like a human hamster. Luckily, I still have no (or very little) pain or discomfort, so that’s a major plus.
I’ve decided this experience is a good lesson in trying to make the best of every situation, or indeed – ‘looking on the bright side of life’ (the whistling part here is optional!) Yes, I’m ill; yes, I’m pretty much housebound because I’m afraid of spreading my germs around; yes, I look like Churchill’s long-lost twin sister. But – I get to try to take it easy, drink lots of tea and I suddenly have a lot of thinking time on my hands. I’ve managed to read my book way ahead of schedule, and now (gasp) I may even have time to read another. Marvellous. I get to run through the plot of my Magnum Opus in my mind, refining it further and making it tidier and more pleasing, and – if I’ve remembered to bring a notebook and a functioning writing implement, that is – writing out notes, doing spider-diagrams, mapping characters and their relationships to one another and generally doing all these things that might otherwise seem tedious, but which really do help the writing process.
I am still really looking forward to getting back to writing, though. I’m beginning to feel at home with this book, and there’s no longer any doubt left in my mind that writing is what I love to do. I hope my ability is a match for my enthusiasm, but I suppose there’s very little I can do about that part. All I can do is keep on enjoying it, and carry on plugging away at this story until it has told itself as fully as possible.
Some of you may be aware that I’m planning to enter a writing competition, the closing date for which is in October. Nothing keeps me focused better than a deadline; I’m used to them, and – to date – I’ve never missed one, so I’m not too worried about that. My only real worry is about the quality of my work. I hope that I’ll be able to write a strong entry for this competition, but another thing I have trouble with is deciding when something is finished. It’s so hard to just stop ‘tweaking’ and draw the line, once and for all, under a piece, allowing it the space to stand on its own, breathe, and exist. I could refine and edit something forever, if I was allowed, so this is another reason why deadlines are good – and it’s also why this period of reflection and quiet opportunity to think, despite the ill-health, is also a good thing.