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Drafting Through The Natural World 

First drafts terrify me. I’m currently in the middle (at least I think it’s the middle!) of a very strange, half-dreamed, ill formed, urgent, naturish first draft of a new novel. And it’s coming along very slowly.

And it’s too ambitious for me and I don’t think I’m the right writer for this idea or story or characters. And yet. I know I should write it because it is actually too ambitious and is more than I bargained for. So here I am.

I’m prepared to share two things about the book with you:

1. that it’s a dual narrative family portrait spanning 30-40 ish years. 

2. It is about a woman who takes a car trip with her child. Nothing is what it seems.

The working title is Blue Mountain. (You got 3. I’m generous like that!)

So back to this first draft. This week I’m currently researching and developing the first draft part by taking a writing residency. I’ve had many revelations about the novel and as terrible as the writing has been, ive made so much progress. I can’t wait to get into the meat of all the drafts that await me. 

And the reason I’ve made so much progress is due to the walks I’ve been taking every day. I’m one of ‘those’ writers. You know the kind: fidgety, annoying, needs to walk out their thoughts, sees something along the way and thinks, ‘now that’s interesting. I wonder if…’ takes photos of it and then just stares at said photo for hours. I’m also desperately, heavily reliant on nature to help me write. And maybe not necessarily for all the reasons you might guess. Being on the residency reinforced a need for change of scenery to help recharge the creativity, let it make patterns and connections in a different environment. You don’t necessarily have to go far from home to do this but I think it’s a good idea to generally take yourself away from the usual park or street you walk down and try somewhere new. Your writing will thank you for it. 

Here are some things I’ve seen this week which have given me a deeper understanding of what this book is actually about. I’m not ready to share the context just yet. 

And bonus photo of a line or two from a bigger section I wrote after one of the walks 


One final thing: I’m in the mountains and I feel ridiculously peaceful because of them.

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writer, observer, reader, procrastinator. My debut novel, See What I Have Done, will be released April 2017 with Hachette (ANZ), Tinder Press (UK), Grove Atlantic (US), Piper Verlag (German), Editions Payot & Rivages (French), Hollands Diep (Dutch), Edizioni Piemme (Italian), GW Foksal (Polish)

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