I haven’t written any of my novel for a long time now, but the characters are still constants in my life. They float around on the periphery like friends I’ve not spoken to in a while, although I know that I must make contact. I find myself thinking about them in quiet moments; sitting on the sofa, watching the girls playing in the garden, or before I fall asleep. But the urge to write has not been there, instead overpowered by the tiredness that accompanies small children and the endless list of chores to complete when I have time to myself.
But I know that these barriers haven’t been the only thing to keep me from writing. The bones of my book are there and I like to think that I know the shape of the novel. The chapters that I have written so far took me to some dark places that I had not allowed myself to contemplate for a while. Whilst writing them was partly cathartic, it was also quite painful at times. Putting myself in my character’s shoes and imagining how she might feel in certain situations was, at times, draining.
Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I think I chose to take a step away from my novel to give myself some time to regain some perspective before picking it up again. When I write, it feels like a cleansing process. The act of putting words down on a page and detaching them somewhat from my mind feels healthy and positive. But the words can also be heavy and raw, draining something from me and leaving a small, tender stain deep within. As much as the words can be cleansing, the process can take something from me and leave me in need of a break. It is easy to be swept up in another world, created within me, that feels real but is false. Having this break has allowed me to take a step back from that world and ensure that I can grow roots more firmly in reality for a while.
Today is the day that I reacquaint myself with my novel and characters, and the world that I have unconsciously created for them. The therapeutic nature of writing can begin again, and hopefully this break has left me ready to continue telling the story.