Musings on coronavirus
How quickly life can change. Last weekend, I was eating lunch with family, and now I'm in self-isolation with coronavirus symptoms. All the things we take for granted have been suddenly stripped away from us - family gatherings, sport fixtures, evenings out, a quick coffee with a friend, a gym session.
It's both comforting and overwhelming that the entire world is under these same conditions. I don't have to explain what's happening to someone in the US or Greece or Budapest, because they're experiencing it for themselves.
I haven't got my head around it at all. In a way, being ill has helped because I haven't wanted to go out, but my complete isolation will end on Friday, and after that I'll be navigating social distancing instead.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a recluse. I may have mentioned it before, if you catch up with me on social media. But I now know I would be really bad at it! I need people, I need conversation with random people in the street. I need hugs.
As it stands at the moment, the launch of Grace & Serenity is still on schedule, but the signings I was planning to organise have been stalled. The places I wanted to approach are all closed, for one thing!
So far, this week:
What are you doing with all this extra time? Whatever it is, I hope you're staying safe, following the guidelines for whichever country you're in, and that we all come out of this stronger, calmer, and more peaceful. This might be the reset we need x
Yep, only 20 weeks until Grace & Serenity is out in the world. The manuscript is currently with the copy-editor, and I'm starting to work on a new book - something I've had hanging around for the last year which had to be set aside when all the work on Grace started.
Obviously, with a book due out and another in the early stages, I've got plenty of time on my hands 😉, So it was serendipitous that an email plonked itself into my in-box last week from Crisis, a charity which aims to end homelessness here in the UK. They were advertising their latest fundraising event, and I signed up.
I will be walking 620,000 steps during March!
It seemed like a good solid number, until I started telling friends and they looked upon me with horror. But I think I can do it. I walk a lot, because I don't drive, so I chose a number that would be an actual challenge. Plus, I work in a gym, so if I'm struggling, I can walk on the treadmill or simply round in circles. A friend sent me this article about how walking helps you think, so it might even aid me in the writing of the next book!
Yesterday, I got to mix with a wide range of writers from all stages of their career, and hear some fantastic speakers talking about the publishing industry, and how to get published. It was hosted by the Writer's & Artist's Yearbook in conjunction with Literature Works.
What made this even better was it was on my dootstep. I didn't have to venture up to London or Birmingham or Manchester... or even Bristol, which is still two hours away and difficult to organise. No, this event was a 30 minute bus ride into the town I spend a lot of time in anyway.
It was a long day, but the speakers were so engaging, and the questions from the audience so interesting, I didn't really notice. The glass of wine at the end was very welcome.
Here are a few interesting points from the day:
Thank you to everyone who made How to Get Published happen. It was really great that you chose Plymouth as the venue for your first outside-London. If you come back, or indeed if you find other venues around the country, I can guarantee they'll be very much appreciated.
I love September. I love the chilly, frosty mornings that give way to warm (or even, hot) sunshine by lunchtime. I love the thought of getting back into my jumpers and thick woolly tights. I love my kids going to back to school and finally having the house to myself again.
September always feels like a fresh start.
So far this month, I've written - and submitted - two short stories, and a flash fiction. I'm on my third short story now - trying to reduce a 50,000 word novel now to a 5,000 word story. I'm playing around with all the different threads and trying to work out how I want to tell this story. It may sound like a silly thing to attempt, but if I do it right, it'll be awesome. (And, if I do it wrong, no one will ever read it, so that's fine too!)
For a long time, now, I've wanted to go to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. Earlier this week, I went... and dragged Hubby and kids with me. Here are some of my favourite photos (please excuse the blur, and the fact that I'm in most of them!)
I planned to take a lot of photos, but in the end just wandered around with that soppy smile on my face. It was an awesome exhibition, and highly recommended if you're ever in Cardiff and - of course - you're a fan.
1. I bought new pens for editing... so many colours. Although, at the moment, I am writing on my laptop - I don't have any hard copies to edit. But I will, soon.
2. I saw the most beautiful coloured leaves on my way to work this week. But sadly, I forgot to take photos. They were golden, russet, yellow... colours I wouldn't normally associate with a British autumn.
3. After a couple of weeks' feeling a bit poorly, I'm finally getting better. Now I just feel a bit weak - and my lifts at the gym have taken a bit of a dive. Something to aim for next week... I also ordered some new gym gear. If in doubt, buy shoes right?
4. While Hubby and the kids went to see Spectre, I had a pyjama day and wrote a convincing first draft of a ghost story. The next day, when I re-read it, not so scary. Must try better!
And finally, 5. I saw the trailer for the New Year's Day episode of Sherlock, and it looks brilliant!