Pandemic plans, plots – and plots

It’s really hard to make plans when the world is upside down, and it’s exhausting. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

My partner and I are currently trying to build a cabin…in a pandemic and in a country different to the one we’re currently in. I realised a year ago this could cause some problems, travel restrictions being one obvious barrier (and illness another…). Unexpectedly, the biggest spanner in the works (pardon the pun) isn’t travel. It is that this year, of all years, timber prices are at an all-time high, throwing all of our quotes and budgets out the window…

Our pretty little plot will have to sit empty for another year, while we hope that the vaccine-rollout goes well and keeps people safe, and for timber prices to drop. All I really want is for us all to be released from limbo and granted some kind of reprieve from all this uncertainty and the damn virus.

In happier plot-related news, I’ve focused on structural edits for my novel and have worked through about a third (woo!) – as well as started planning for a new novel and started on a short story. Yes, I know, I should work on my attention span. The short story is a nice break for my brain though. It’s fun working on a long project, but it does get a bit overwhelming at times, so I’ve enjoyed having a shorter project on the side. The game plan for the summer is to finish structural edits, send it out to be critiqued, and force myself to wait with any new, longer projects until then. And who knows, perhaps by the new year all pandemic-born DYI’ers have decided that building things just isn’t their cup of tea and the price of timber will crash. That would be nice.

Now I’m off to write a short story about a detective and a cracked frame. At least I know how that story ends.

Be safe out there! X

And so came December…

5 months ago I finished the first draft of my novel and, as you should, I decided to let it rest for a while. I didn’t think I’d let 5 months go by, but here we are! I have officially begun to assemble all materials and am busy going through and tweaking my old outline in preparation for structural edits. It’s going to need it…

The summer of 2020 was different in many way, and back in August my partner and I were lucky enough to be able to visit my parents in northern Sweden.

Do you remember that time? When restrictions lifted in Europe and we naively thought we were seeing the beginning of the end? When we all laughed and said: “Ah, when we come back to London things will be back to normal! Joy!” Oh, sweet summer child…

Our planned 3 weeks at my parents’ house quickly turned into 3 months as, you know, things did not return to normal and it was difficult to travel back. Also, I must admit we felt a lot safer in the remote Swedish mountains than in London… A second thing that kept us there was a very Scandinavian thing: Our cabin. Perhaps I should say our future cabin, as it doesn’t exist yet. We hope to begin building it next year.

This is a dream project that has been brewing for a while, though we never planned for it to become a reality during a pandemic when both health and jobs are on the line, so my excitement is somewhat tempered by fear that it’s all going to blow up in our faces. But if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s how to be a little more zen. But only a little. Most of the time I’m like a small child clinging on to a terrifying roller-coaster. And we plan to build OURSELVES … If you’re familiar with Scandinavian culture you might be aware that projects like these are more or less a rite of passage – so perhaps when I touch the hammer lots of knowledge will just come to me? Watching YouTube videos about carpentry is totally the same as training to become a carpenter, right?!

At least it meant that most of our time there was spent walking through the forest being eaten by mosquitoes and other bugs, which were nice memories to look back on as we went through London’s second lockdown. In other words, my Instagram feed will see some more nature photos in the months to come, though bookish and writerly things are hopefully going to creep back in as my edits progress. Along with some shots of mulled wine, as it is the season…

Happy December, everyone!