In-Between Days

I’m living in that magical transition between books, a period I fantasised over and over again when the writing got tough in Vigilante. Between books is a wonderful time. You can justify a moment of pride at finishing the last one, a bit of air-punching, a couple of lie-ins. You know – sort-of – what comes next, but it’s not real yet, just fermenting happily in your brain. This is the time when your next novel is at its most perfect: before you’ve written a word of it. It exists as a Platonic ideal, unbruised by its imperfect author operating in an imperfect world.

With every book I write, I learn new skills and make fresh resolutions. This time, I promise myself, I will be kind to my creativity. I’ll allow my unconscious the space it needs to reflect on the new project. I will protect stretches of time for the kind of aimless meandering which writing needs. I’ll be more carefree, less uptight.

I’ll just pause there for a moment, so you can finish laughing.


This is what I hoped my In-Between days would be like:

Woman reading

Though I suspected they might be more like this:

Exhausted maenides

In fact, they’ve been pretty much as busy as ever, because they have filled up with all the many, many things I was unable to do as I headed towards deadline. So, I’ve met up with friends to whom I’ve been a stranger for months, I’ve finally got round to grappling with Scrivener, I’ve performed a mammoth and psychologically transparent tidy-up of my writing room. I’ve also seen Son2 into his new school and prepared for the three (three!) October birthdays in my household.

The truth is, that my life doesn’t realise that these are In-Between Days. Bizarrely, the world has not stopped turning, and the cats still need taking to the vet. Those wide-open spaces of time don’t happen for me unaided, and in many ways I’m very lucky they don’t, because people fill them up and I rather like those people.

So I’ve decided to carve out my own In-Between time, a week where I won’t answer emails, where the only food we eat is cook-chill, where I can just shut off the noise for a while and see what falls into the silence. I’ve picked my way through The Birthdays and some teaching and all the things I need to do to shepherd Vigilante into the world, and I’ve arrived at a date in early December, my first opportunity to just stop.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

In-Between Days

  • Advice
  • author photographs
  • Books
  • Britishness
  • Cover images
  • Events
  • Getting published
  • Jubilee
  • Monarchy
  • Music
  • Personal
  • Politics
  • Vigilante
  • Writing