So that’s my Turkey time finished for a while. I’ve had a little under eight months of a writing sabbatical. Not many people get lucky enough for that sort of opportunity in their lives. In that time I’ve written and put out the four books above. I’ve also written eighty thousand words of Booker & Cash #3 (I feel like I’m on the home straight with that one), ten thousand words of Booker & Cash #4 (that was just accidental – an attempt at a short story that I realised had some legs in it) and a sixty thousand word first draft of a stand alone that might be the start of something special. Then there’re the weekly blog-posts and I overhauled the first three Romney & Marsh Files, which was quite a time-consuming task. But a necessary one.
Life has been good here. Surprisingly really good. I existed in my bubble in the suburbs of Ankara and I have been happy.
For myself as much as anything (this is my writer’s diary after all) I’m going to detail a typical working day in my writer’s life.
6.30am – my little boy usually wakes up demanding attention. That’s my job.
8.15 am – I walk my son to school, which is about fifteen minutes away. Sometimes it snows.
8.30 am – My usual Turkish breakfast at my usual table in the local eatery. (Including mug of tea 12.50TL, which equates to just under £3. Bargain.) I used to go home and make my own until I discovered this place. (No shopping, no preparing, no washing up. Eat, pay, go. What’s not to like?)
9.15 am – Back home. Sit down to write.
(Yesterday, Sunday, I stripped the walls of my Post-its and put them somewhere safe. That was pretty sad. I felt like I was moving out, which I suppose I am.)
1.00 pm – Down tools, change into running gear and head to gym.
1.15 pm – Arrive at gym and torture myself for an hour.
2.30 pm – Table tennis partner arrives. Let the games commence.
3.45 pm – Leave gym, run to meet son from school.
4.30 pm – Arrive home. Do stuff.
7.30 pm – Put son to bed and read him a story. That’s my job.
8.00 pm – Sit down to watch a film. (Great TV packages in Turkey)
10ish pm – Back to current writing project
Midnight – Bed.
On a good day I’ll manage 5000 words. On a slow one half that.
I feel like I’ve had a productive and enjoyable time as a writer. And I’m still brimming with creativity. My walls are plastered with Post-its of ideas for new stories.
I don’t really want to leave Turkey just now but I have to. It’s a visa thing. I’ve got to get out for three months minimum. And then it will be summer in the UK, which I quite like, so I’ll be back home on the Marsh until September. Then… we’ll see.
By the time anyone sees this I will hopefully be somewhere in the air over Europe looking down on the world with an alcoholic beverage in my fist. Tomorrow I’ll be at the London Book Fair. I’m looking forward to that. See here: LBF Blog-post.
Writing is going to have to take a back seat in my life for the next few months. I’ve got a list of jobs to do as long as Inspector Gadget’s arm. And I need a bit of a holiday. I’ve worked quite hard during my sabbatical.
I’m gutted I didn’t get to wrap up B&C#3 before I left. It’s my own fault. I was struck with a book idea in February and spent the next three weeks knocking out a first draft. And it is good. But it cost me valuable B&C time, which I haven’t been able to claw back. I can’t not finish B&C#3 as soon as possible because I’m in the swing of it and it’s a bit complex for me. I can see I’m going to be burning some midnight oil for a week or two back home. So be it.
I recently read a very interesting and affirming article here: When the well runs dry.
The author of the piece considers the feelings of tiredness that a creative can experience on finishing a project. This is definitely something I can relate to. I found it hard to understand the first few times it happened to me – I thought I was coming down with something – but now I’m used to it. It’s become part of the process. I finish the first draft of something and it’s like someone’s pulled my plug. I become quite listless for a few days. It’s good to know it’s normal for some.
After eight months of writing solidly, I need to give my ‘well’ an opportunity to fill up a bit. Preferably with beer. I’m looking forward to heading down the road to this place. Romney Marsh Brewery No prizes for guessing why.
I intend to keep my Diary of a CWAP up to date. There will be news to share in the coming weeks – Deep State (Acer #4) and Waifs & Strays (B&C#3) for starters.
I would like to end this chapter (groan) in my writing life by taking the opportunity to once again offer my warmest and sincerest thanks to all my friends and readers on social media who have taken an interest in my writing and helped me to have such a wonderful time of it. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.
Writers are nothing without supportive readers.
And finally many thanks to Martin and Shelagh who have both had their editorial and proofreading work cut out for them with the above books. They are the reasons my writing is not littered with errors like what it used to be (?). Professional help is something else a serious writer can’t do without.