Yay, Christmas! But, oh blimey, that also means the end of the year’s looming. Which means: so’s the deadline for the first draft of my second book.
Two days from Christmas, I think I can finally see the finish line. However if you’d spoken to me a few weeks ago, you’d have found me metaphorically slumped by the kerb; refusing to finish this literary marathon, sobbing into my race number.
There are some stories I find enjoyable to write, but this one’s been an arduous little so and so.
Partly it might be my fault. I can lack discipline. I know this because I ate all the chocolate decorations on the tree, three days after I’d hung them (thank goodness for two small children: ‘Yes, can you believe it? They ate all the Christmas tree chocolates!’) But it’s also just been a hard book to write.
To keep me going, I have this analogy I often use on myself, to encourage the whinge-bag in me: don’t give up. I liken writing a book to a lone mountain climb…despite having climbed few actual mountains in my life (mind you, I probably need to now after all the Christmas tree chocolates I’ve eaten).
So this mountain – I start off all perkily. New boots; new rucksack; new equipment: Kendal mint cake; crisp new map; sleeping bag; baked beans; more Kendal mint cake.
I’m excited. The weather’s great. I’m enjoying my own company. I’m out in the fresh air. I know where I’m going. What a great idea of mine this is, to climb this particular mountain! Hooray!
Cue halfway up the mountain. What was I thinking? I can’t do this. Where am I even going? The weather’s turned nasty. Where’s the Kendal mint cake? (‘You ate it in the first five minutes’) Yes, bored of my own company, I’ve now split into two that bicker and fight: ‘You’ve got us lost!’
‘No – you’ve got us lost!’
I realise I’ve forgotten some essential gear – like a can opener for my beans; a tent; extra Kendal mint cake.
I start seriously doubting my two selves. Should I retrace my steps and start again? Should I abandon it altogether? Should I go back and buy more Kendal mint cake?
Still, somehow, I trundle on upwards; reading the map wrongly; getting more lost, trying new routes. But I keep going. Blistered foot in front of blistered foot.
The last leg of the mountain. You find me frozen. Every bit of me aches. A mist is falling; I can no longer see the mountain peak. I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m not capable of climbing any mountain, never mind this one!
But still, I keep going.
And finally, I’m nearly there, nearly at the top. The weather’s starting to clear. Yay, at last I can see the peak. I can even start to imagine the view. A little misty maybe; I’ll be a little breathless. But it’ll be a sight for my oh-so sore eyes.
I’ll still want more Kendal Mint Cake. But I’ll have made it. All those blisters and cold nights and lost paths…all of it…will have been worth it after all.
And I’ll run all the way down whooping as I go.
Only to reach the bottom…and plan my next tortuous mountain climb.
Happy New Year. And good luck whichever mountains you choose to climb in 2015!