‘No news’

Stages of writing a novel.

  1. Have vaguest of ideas and spent several months just thinking about this idea, writing notes on phone which you believe will almost certainly earn you the Booker.
  2. Realise the deadline for book is coming up sharpish and sit down to write the thing.
  3. Remember you’ve written a load of brilliant notes on your phone. Read notes. Internal organs shrivel with shame.
  4. Spend a few months groaning behind computer, wondering why you wanted to be a writer and wishing you’d become one of those people who waves directional paddles at airplanes like the school aptitude test suggested in the first place.
  5. Finish first draft. Send draft to editor.
  6. Brief spell of euphoria (five minutes tops).
  7. Editor comes back a week or so later saying lovely supportive things but also suggests ‘a few changes’.
  8. Repeat stage four to write second draft except you have less time to do it.
  9. Send second draft to editor.

I’m not saying this is how Hilary Mantel does it but I’ve just reached stage nine. I clicked send on the second draft of my fourth book this morning and went for a celebratory walk (what else?). There are obviously a few more stages after this, but that’s where I am now so I’m going to leave you on this cliffhanger until I’ve done them all. I think I can officially announce the title…later this month? So there’s another exciting diary date for you. I’m v tickled by this new book’s cover, just approved and also revealed shortly.

Otherwise, no news (anyone else having these phone calls at the moment? I ring my mum/dad/step-mother/sibling/friend and we discuss what we ate for dinner before both sighing and saying ‘no news otherwise’. A few weeks ago, my friend Holly and I managed a good 20-minute conversation about the correct temperature to eat soup.)

Um…what else? I saw a parakeet clean the head of another parakeet in the wood this morning. That was pretty gripping.

Oh yes, actually, I’m v honoured to be part of a new writing competition The Telegraph have launched. It’s for 13-18 year olds and all details are HERE. Deadline three weeks today, or 22 Feb. The columns I’ve written in the past month or so for the Tel are HERE. I wrote something mad about making kimchi for The Times HERE (featuring a picture from a couple of years ago when I’d just tried Botox for the first time and my cheeks have gone a bit Cilla Black). Not much else to post because I’ve had to say no to all other freelancing while flailing around with the draft.

I just finished reading someone else’s properly brilliant book which has gone straight into my top five favourites of all time – Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. Really recommend if you need a pick-me-up that isn’t wine.

Also, I regret to inform you that Gail’s has changed its hot chocolate recipe and I’m not at all sure it’s for the better.

I think that’s everything. Hope you’re all safe and much love from Crystal Palace X