It’s hard to concentrate much on my writing projects this week as I’m singing in OKLAHOMA! at the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells. You know, the theatre with the bum-numbing, shifting-in-three seats. I’m only a chorus girl which may not sound too taxing until you step onto the stage and the lights are on you and you have to remember that you’re an alto so mustn’t forget to harmonise when your brain is screaming to sing the melody. That’s the only pressure – oh, and remembering which side of the stage you’re supposed to come on. But it’s all great fun, and when the audience show their delight in loud, prolonged clapping and whistling, I can barely sing the last notes of the encore I’m so overcome.
But somehow this week I’ve managed over the last couple of days to plug on with Book 3 of my trilogy: The Voyagers. Gone will be the fairy-tale world of this week: the last notes of the orchestra died away, the stage lights dimmed and cut, and the final curtain fallen. I may look in the cold light of the real world next week at what I’ve written and see a load of unconnected nonsense, but I hope not. My aim is to have taken the story further towards its inexorable ending – maybe not quite such a fairy-tale ending as OKLAHOMA! but satisfying and hopeful, nonetheless.
I wonder if other writers feel the same way if their usual routine is broken up beyond recognition for a few days or even weeks and months. This can happen if you suddenly have to take the role of carer (I’ve had that too for the last year), or become poorly yourself, or there’s a family problem or an unusually heavy workload to plough through. I suppose the only antidote is to adopt a new routine as quickly as possible which will allow some space and time, however short, to write. Yes, the writing might need a whole lot of polishing when you are back to normal, but maybe coming out of your regular routine will have thrown a fresh light on your writing project and you will tackle it with all the vigour and determination it deserves.
Oh, I did have a small publishing success recently. I sent a short piece to The Lady magazine (the one with Prince Harry on the cover) for their regular column The Lady & I, found on their letter page My prize is a Panettone, which apparently has leapfrogged over mince-pies so far as popularity in Christmas cakes is concerned. I’m waiting for the delivery which should be any day soon, although I have such a weakness for it, if I get it too early there will only be a few yellow crumbs come Christmas!
If that happens it certainly won’t be a beautiful morning, or even a beautiful day!