It’s been two months since I last posted. That sounds like what you’re supposed to say at confession: ‘It’s been two months since my last confession.’
I’ve had a pretty full on time since then, some of my own creation and some outside of my control.
I’ve managed to achieve two important creative goals that I set myself. On 14 February, Valentine’s Day, I got my latest genre romance manuscript to 80,000 words. I had planned to have the first draft finished by 80k, but the story was still going and I had to move on to the next goal. There is still some work to be done to tie up the end of the story, I’m back to working on this now, and then the editing process begins.
Then, on 31 March, I submitted a previously completed manuscript to an unpublished manuscript competition run by the Kill Your Darlings literary magazine. I spent six weeks thoroughly editing it. I feel like there might be more work to be done on that manuscript but if I win the competition I’ll have a mentor to do that with. The competition has prize money and the mentor is author Hannah Kent. The shortlist will be announced 1 June, and the winner on 3 July. I have my fingers crossed.
I’ve also had a couple of pretty intense things happen outside of my creative stuff. Firstly, I was evicted from my home with three days notice when the council declared the building unsafe to live in. I managed to find alternative short term accommodation within those three days and I have secured a new place to move into at the beginning of May.
All in all the whole thing went pretty well all things considered. I had to pack up my life, move it to my mum’s for storage, run around trying to find somewhere to sleep, and go through the search for a new share-house all in about a week. It was tough and draining and took up all of my brain space. I’m exhausted just thinking about having to move my stuff again – from Mum’s into the new place.
In addition to being evicted I had a particularly stressful couple of weeks at my job. I work in a not-for-profit organisation doing Quality Assurance and we had our annual external audit. It was my first audit and I didn’t know what to expect, or a have good idea of how to prepare. In addition to the audit my direct manager left the organisation suddenly, which left me, relatively inexperienced, and my boss one step up, the General Manager to manage it all. Everyone pulled together and we managed to get through without too much trouble, but it was incredibly stressful. Now we start planning how to get ready for the audit next year, which is an even bigger project.
I’ve spent the last week and the Easter break trying to regain my calm. I’m still recovering after so much stress. I’m tired and don’t feel at home in the temporary accommodation; more like a guest in a hotel.
The new house, once I’m settled in, will be an opportunity to build a space to create and socialise and live in. It wasn’t my choice to move, but now that it’s happened I think it will be good.
I like to have things planned out. I like to have things settled and stable and reasonably predictable. But the last few weeks have shown that I can cope with a lot. I can have a little cry, and then I knuckle down and do whatever needs to be done. It’s reassuring that even when everything is falling apart around me, I can keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s possible. And that’s very reassuring.