Writing and other animals

So my own purposely played-down resolution doesn’t look so clever now, does it? I shall write, I resolved, way back at the beginning of January. Be a writer, live the writing dream, write more, write better. And this is my first post here since that time. To be frank, it doesn’t look good.

In my defence (and how did you know that was coming?), I have been writing, just not here. On Saturday night I sent off the final manuscript of the Norfolk Dialect book, 12000 words which I have researched, written, edited and rewritten since Christmas, and which will be published somewhere around April by Bradwell (who also published the Sussex Dialect book I wrote last year).

This is massive for me – although 12k is not a long manuscript, I’m still enough of a novice at this writing/publishing lark that I agonise over most every word, beat myself up over small sections of text, and have little confidence in my own craft. I do realise that this is probably true of most writers, except the most egocentric and self-confident, but it doesn’t make for fast or easy manuscript production.

Amazingly, however, I managed to turn Norfolk out a couple of weeks early, spurred on by the idea of a work-free week on holiday with my extended family (ironically, in a cottage in rural Norfolk). The last few weeks have been tough, trying to finish the dialect manuscript and also working on editing a long academic manuscript for publication by Routledge and fitting in other shorter edits for other clients, as well as wading to and from school though snow and supporting children through exams and illnesses.

So that’s why I haven’t been writing here. Not an excuse but an explanation, and a small amount of self-justification because I knew I shouldn’t have made that wretched resolution.

Sigh. I never learn.

Update – Sussex, Yorkshire and the Russian Revolution

A quick post by way of a general update, since my blogging mojo has clearly deserted me – if indeed it ever visited, which seems unlikely based on the evidence. Today it appears to have popped in for a cup of tea at least, so here I am.

The summer holiday has shot by, and has been incredibly busy – it seems entirely unreal that I’ll be back at my four-day-a-week school job next week, fitting in writing and editing around that and everything else which goes with running a family of five. Since we all broke up in July we’ve camped in a puddle in North Yorkshire (not on purpose – the puddle wasn’t there when we put the tent up), acted/played/sung in a play about the Russian Revolution with the Big Theatre company, and enjoyed the splendid irony of marvelling at the pinnacle of sporting endeavour in the Olympics and Paralympics while slobbing about on the sofa eating cake.

I have also put the finishing touches to my book on Sussex dialect, which is due for publication in the next few weeks (the final proof should be going off to the printer any day), agreed in principle to write another in the same series, probably about Norfolk dialect, as well as a few others which may or may not be in the pipeline, and rushed out some text for a photo book on the Peak District which will be published in time for Christmas. All these have come my way via a colleague who prefers not to be named in thanks and acknowledgements, but who nevertheless brokers deals with publishers and then shoves them my way. I am extremely grateful for all his efforts.

I have had word that the Wandering Weeds anthology, featuring a short story of mine, will also be making an appearance pretty soon – I’m glad about this, because I had almost given up on that little story ever appearing in the wild. I know Jaleta and Frances have both worked really hard on the antho, so I’m looking forward to it coming out.

In between all this I’ve edited reports, articles, book chapters and a novel, and have just started work on a second novel for the same client. After a tremendously busy period in July, when I was working on three or four (and for a short but memorable period, five) separate editing jobs at once, the freelance work has thankfully levelled off to a steady and manageable rate. I have a few long manuscripts booked in between now and Christmas, with plenty of scope for fitting shorter contracts around them and also for working on my own writing. Good times!

Finally, and apropos of nothing in particular except to prove that it didn’t rain all the time we were in Yorkshire, here’s a picture of York Minster. I’ve been playing with my (still fairly new-to-me) camera, but most of the other shots I’ve taken seem to feature my children gurning. Delightful.