The Free-Range Writer furiously hammers out the last third of her 103,000-word first novel draft, hands it in half an hour before the final deadline, necks a pint at the Old Government House faculty bar, collapses into exhausted sleep on beanbag on her own back deck. School holidays. The FRW takes a much-needed break from writing, survives Christmas, enjoys a fabulous summer free from deadline pressure, realises her children are actually really quite lovely, even manages to write a short story or two. Hapless, fed up with the poky Auckland job market, leaves for London. The FRW reluctantly re-enters her battery cage and spends three months working at capacity, an experience not enhanced by solo parenting, and remembering why she gave the whole lousy gig up in the first place. Late at night she shops on the internet for London flats and schools; during the weekends she packs up the household box by back-aching nail-breaking box. Four months after his departure, Hapless is reunited in an emotional scene at Heathrow with his family, rendered temporarily more adorable by distance.
So The Free-Range Writer went cold turkey. Five months which I’ve spent extruding novel, a strange, lumpy substance of highly variable quality and texture. Continue reading “One month to go”