From empty to bursting!

From empty to bursting!

My last blog looked at being a serious writer with a presently empty head. I have just finished writing my latest book, ‘Time of the Virus’. This is the first book I have ever written about me – a strange mix of memoir, thoughts and opinions on the dire state of our world, with a few short stories, poems and my own artwork thrown into the soup. This project managed to fill my writing days at a time when lockdowns had forced us all into isolation. So my thoughts, in the form of reflections, musings and rantings, on this strange time of the pandemic are now out on Amazon. So, on the writing front, I needed to forget it and start something new.

But what? That was the question. In answer, out came a historical novel I had written in 1996 that had lain unseen in a dark drawer ever since. Its characters begin their story following the death of Queen Victoria (1901), and end with the Titanic (1912). But here’s the strangest thing; these dates are all I can recall, having long since forgotten what happens in my own story and which character does what. So hey presto, my next project has become the typing up of these yellowed pages – and finding out what I wrote in the first place as I go along. I was just getting into this new project that had started to fill my head when fate intervened in the strangest form.

I received a bolt from the blue when my previous publishers, Routledge, invited me to do a third edition of my latest book for schools – The SENCO Survival Guide. What, I thought!Haven’t two editions of this particular book been enough? Just when I thought that educational writing was well behind me, having written and had published thirteen books for teachers, a further five for parents, and being now retired from teaching – education is back to haunt me. So here I am delving again into the world of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – in 2021, following the effects of Covid. But this further edition will be book number 20, to be published in 2022, and between you and me I am both pleased and flattered to be invited to write it at all, even though the idea is giving me the colly-wobbles, if there is such a word.

Hence the title of this blog. ‘From empty to bursting’ has begun to describe the anxious state of my brain. From having literally nothing to occupy the serious writing part of my head, and having just published the ‘Virus’ book, I now have two huge projects threatening to spill out. Can I cope? Yes, of course I can, I tell myself. Isn’t this what serious writing is all about – saying yes (to the publisher) and thinking about the consequences and detrimental effects on my mental health afterwards?

So because I am by nature a planner, and because serious writing requires serious planning – the first thing I have found myself doing is a detailed plan of how I will tackle these projects: including exhaustive lists of the research I need to do for each chapter, my strategy for writing each book, together with dates and word lengths. There is nothing like a deadline for helping us writers to get our heads into gear! So, having at least got my head into some sort of order, I am now raring to go.

I’ll let you know how I get on. Never before have I attempted to write both a novel and a serious non-fiction book at the same time. So it’s a challenge. But isn’t challenge what all writers thrive on?

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