I’m working very intensely at the moment, desperately trying to finish a copyedit for my new novel by its due date and finding I needed to do a lot more work on the manuscript than I’d realised.
This is a pattern which seems to characterise my life as a novelist. Longish periods when it’s all going along very steadily and then bursts of incredible pressure.
I’ve been at it for eleven hours today and I feel like my eyes are hanging out of my head.
I’m not complaining. It’s very satisfying when you know you’ve made a chapter much more immediate, or you read a joke that you wrote months ago and it still makes you laugh. But it is very draining.
Despite feeling exhausted, the anxiety makes me wake up in the middle of the night and then I get those horrible night nadgers, where every little worry, which you can deal with during the day, has grown enormous horns and a sharp stick to poke you with.
So I was very interested to see a piece at Red magazine online today, with the title ‘Silence Your 4am Fears’. I felt like it had been written just for me.
The piece quotes Christine L Conroy, author of Stitch Your Own Silver Linings (Matador, £10.26) who suggests an exercise to combat those middle of the night terror thoughts:
“Sit up in bed, get a pen and paper, and start writing down your thoughts, just as they come.
‘Carry on with this until there is nothing left to say,’ says Conroy, then ‘tell yourself you’ll deal with the thoughts in the morning.’
In the cold light of day, you’ll see how ridiculous they are. Stick with it every night, and eventually you’ll recognise the spiral starting.'”
I hope I won’t need to try it tonight, but it’s comforting to know I could if I need to.
I’ve had a look at the book online and it looks interesting. I think I’ll read it – but not until I’ve finished my own one first.
Here’s the link to the Red piece (and it’s a great website too).