Spent the day at my desk again working on the first third of the novel. It felt like quite a slog; tea, write, tea, chocolate, write, tea, toast, write, the postman! only boring bills, and then I wrote a whole paragraph that I was happy with and it all seemed worth it. I’ve been asked to write a postcard about my favourite place to write by Arvon. I’d love to say somewhere really exotic – a log cabin looking over a sea loch or in Paris overlooking the rooftops. But the truth is that I write in the smallest room in the house which has door than I can close on the mess and the washing up and the laundry and am thrilled that I’ve graduated from writing on the landing (freezing) or in the kitchen (too many temptaions). I can’t work in cafe’s – too noisy. Or libraries – too many distractions; why is that middle aged man reading a book on Elizabethan needlework etc? The only distractions here are the trains that pass by on their way to somewhere more beautiful, Loch Lomond or Helensburgh.
I have to say more words about Totleigh Barton. I didn’t mean to sound negative about the experience – what a fabulous place and fascinating people – it’s just that a few people seemed to get sucked into the whole business side of publishing too early. But then we all have the same burning and unresolvable question. How can we find the time to write what we want and make enough to live on? I still can’t work it out. Try genre, a friend said, but I never read that stuff. Or TV? But I rarely watch it. It’s a big big deal to have the faith in yourself to spend hundreds of hours writing books that may never get published. A massive gamble with pretty poor odds. Arvon brings people together who all have the same dilemma. Hopefully it can send them back out into the world again with not only renewed confidence but the sense that they’re not the only ones.