Thursday 4th May 2017

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!
I spent my day still feeling a bit glum and restless from the post-novel blues.  I can rationalise my petulance.    Having returned home late last night and then had to get up early for the day job meant that I was tired most of the day, which never helps my mood.
To give you an idea of just how stupid my mood is right now, consider the fact that – just like some surly teenager – I consider my life to be so dull when in 10 days I’ll be in Canada ready for an epic road trip into the US and chasing both storms and aurora.  How is that, by anyone’s definition, dull.
But that’s what my stupid brain is always like for a number of days following the completion of a novel.  Even a friend taking the time to message me and thank me for a compliment I paid them yesterday, and another friend’s exciting publishing news wasn’t enough to cheer me up.
Instead,  I irrationally felt that my entire writing career was about to implode, even though if it did, I’d just pick myself up and write another book.  I felt my health was going to deteriorate even though I was told by the doctor yesterday that it shouldn’t.  I felt that I was going to tank in my next swordfighting competition, despite showing good performance in all the ones I’ve been in since last year.  I felt a friend was just inviting me round to be ‘nice’, when I knew it was me just trying to feel sorry for myself.
That last one sent a few alarm bells ringing for me as that seemed very similar to depression, except I’m not depressed, just tired and restless.  I decided that the best course of action was to get out of the house for a while and just do some non-writing stuff.  So I took my friend up on their offer (although the temptation to stay in and sulk was great, I can tell you.)
Before I could go, I had a few jobs to do.  I went and voted in the local elections before coming back and doing a Facebook Live playing with a lightsabre.  I’d like to say that I had some devious social marketing plan for doing this, but in truth I just wanted to swing a lightsabre around and my ceilings are not high enough.  Going outside I felt a bit of an idiot, so I thought that by live streaming it, that somehow made it more sociably acceptable.
An interesting take away from doing that is the fact that I was very quiet.  That comes from being outside my comfort zone.  My neighbours are all listening to me, they can hear the lightsabre, they must think I’m nuts!  If I’m to vlog when I’m in North America then I need to make sure I don’t do the same.  A quiet, shy ‘presenter’ in a vlog isn’t going to be fun to watch.  I just hope being away from home puts me so far outside my comfort zone that I really don’t care and am more like myself.
I probably need to do some vlogging practise over the weekend.  I definitely need to test elements of the camera gear.
Still, as I need to keep reminding myself, doing something bad is a step towards doing it good.
With the video done it was time to make a pitstop at the place we go for Cake Club.  Why? you may ask.  Cake, of course.
I got my dates mixed up earlier in the week and thought cake club was this week only to find out yesterday that it was in fact next week.  But Kate said that she and Sophie were hanging out, eating pizza, fixing Sophie’s PC and talking maps and said I would be welcome (as I previously mentioned).  So after finally deciding to go, I did a small diversion and got cake.
It was a beautiful drive over.  The rape seed is out in force and the hills are carpeted in yellow.  Kate and Sophie appreciated the cake and we had a real laugh.  It was just what I needed to snap me out of my malaise.
Obviously, Kate has to wait until I complete the next draft before she gets to beta but as I told both her and Sophie that one of the things I’m utterly proud of in book 2 is how complex the main character is getting.  He has to make a major choice towards the end of the book, and the one he makes really shocked me – not because I wanted anything different, but because I think whilst the reader will see this as something that perfectly fits the character, it’s also not the expected result.  In the days since completing this novel, that scene has really stuck with me and I hope it’s a sign that the book, and particularly the main character, are gloriously complicated.
Whilst Kate and Sophie had a serious discussion about maps, I dealt with a number of incoming messages from Canada.  We need to decide our preferred communications channel.  Communication is key when you’re out chasing deadly storms.  We’ve been using messenger but some of our group don’t like it.  Shannon tried Twitter but there was a bit of a delay (not helpful when you have a storm bearing down on you)
So I suggested Whatsapp even though I’ve never used it.  Downloaded it and got a number of messages on the drive home.  It seems perfect for what we need.  I just need to work out what I’m doing for data whilst in the US – surplus on my carrier package, rented MiFi device or buy a new sim out there?  Probably need to decide at the weekend.
As I said to Sophie and Kate tonight, I’ve done this trip so many times, and keep most of my gear together, that packing seems deceptively easy.  Part of me worries that somehow I’m forgetting something vital.
I got my travel insurance today and am now debating whether I need a car for the couple of days I’m in Winnipeg.  Surely taxis will just be cheaper.  I only get a couple of days before we head off.
This is why I want to pack this weekend so I can see if there’s anything I’ve forgotten.  But as they say in the Midwest, this ain’t my first rodeo, so I’d also be pretty surprised if there was anything major I’ve forgotten (quickly checks he booked flights!).
This holiday (because it is a holiday) has come at the perfect time.  Giving a novel everything I can will always me feeling a little spent and down for a few days afterwards.  I accept that as part of my process of creating a book.  But I know I need to rest, recover and ready myself for the next challenge.  My trip in 10 or so days will give me just that, and it certainly won’t be dull!
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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