My feet hardly seem to have touched the ground since my last blog, and I'm thankful that the Boy and I have some quiet time together at the end of this week and this weekend as I'm starting to feel a little overstretched. The upshot of this is that I haven't had time to dwell much on the sadness of this year as there simply hasn't been time. But the downside is that I feel like I'm chasing my tail and there's not been quite as much Elly Beans time as I would like. I also haven't been able to process my thoughts on this blog in the way I have become accustomed too. I am mindful of that, and how stressed I can get where there's not time for a long soak in the bath, to read my book in bed, or to spend a quiet hour giving myself a pedicure and manicure. So this weekend I will be doing at least two of those things - if not three!
But I feel everything I'm working on is giving me positive stress now, rather than holding me back or pulling me down. Work has been fantastically exciting. We've recorded the musical track, and are now in the PR process and spinning as best we can! We're also working on some interesting and challenging economic stories, and I'm using parts of my brain that have lain dormant for some time. It feels good to hear them awaken.
The Boy and I are onto our second class of scuba tonight. I won't lie - I am a little nervous about it. Last week was a real mixed bag for me. I did very well in the theory and I felt a real buzz assembling the kit together - I couldn't remember the last time I had tried anything as new and as different as this. The swimming tests all went well and I got into the pool feeling more keen anticipation than reluctant nerves about giving it all a go. However - it didn't go smoothly. It took me quite some time to get my bearings and to be able to settle down into the deep, slow breaths that are a necessity in diving. Mine were too gulpy, panicky and jerky. Fortunately for my own piece of mind I improved a lot as the evening went on, and I was by no means the worst. But I also wasn't the best - and I could feel my old competitive head that believes only first is best rearing its ugly head! Not a great look for me I have to say, and hopefully I can keep that particular familiar at bay tonight.
The most time-consuming and enjoyable part of the week has been working on the novel. It's overtaken me and I feel so passionate about it. In a funny kind of way it's like I've given birth to a book, rather than the baby, because it is so all-encompassing and I am thinking about it pretty much every waking hour. I'm into chapter three and have nearly 15,000 words. The Boy has been hugely supportive and even though 'chick lit' is really not his thing, he has read big chunks - and listened to me read sections out to him. I feel really blessed that he is so open to and supportive of everything I do. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the quiet little life he used to have before he met me - I seem to come with so much baggage and drama, and that weighs on my mind sometimes.
I've been brave and sent the manuscript thus far to a friend's wife who used to work at Penguin books to get her honest opinion of whether there's anything in it. I felt some anxiety about doing that, I am quite sensitive about my work and I'm not sure how I will cope if she thinks it is weak. But I am also keen to keep pushing myself and whatever feedback I get from her will hopefully be professional and constructive. I've sent off for a book which lists writing agents in London and around the UK, and how to submit your work to them. I've also book the beginning of January off to try and get a lot more of the book written, and to begin submitting my novel to them. It's a funny feeling - I'm not sure where this will go, but there's something about me just doing this that makes me feel good. Even if it is fruitless in terms of where it goes generally, it is really important to me personally and I feel proud of myself for just putting pen to paper.