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I know that I have been a sorry disappointment to you in recent months – very little blogging, and even less writing of the latest Sam Plank book, “Plank 7”.  The latest on that is that I have written seven chapters, with a total of about 13,000 words, and I am reasonably happy with one of my plot strands.  The main obstacle to writing is that I am, against the odds, working pretty much full time – I’m certainly not complaining, when so many are struggling to make a living, but it means that at the end of the day and then the week I have very little mental energy left for imaginative writing.

To remedy that, I am currently working my way through a book called “The Organised Writer: How to Stay on Top of All Your Projects and Never Miss a Deadline”, by Antony Johnston.  When my husband saw it arrive, he was surprised, as I am famed for my organisational skills/obsession.  (Surely everyone has a “Dish of the Day” list pinned on the fridge, showing what every meal for the coming week will be, so that we can alternate meat/fish/veggie, and potato/rice/pasta, and avoid food waste.  No?  Ah, just me then.)  And it’s true – I don’t need much help with record-keeping, plotting, invoicing and the rest.  But I do need to find a way to prioritise my writing, so that I don’t end up with perfectly filed paperwork and no energy left to write a single paragraph.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

The other aspect of life as a writer that has been exercising me recently is how wonderful it is to have an alternative world to which I can escape.  When I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about the US election and about corruption in the UK government, I can leave the modern world entirely and spend a happy hour or two reading and writing about the horse trade in London in the 1820s.  I pity those who are not readers or writers and are therefore stuck in the moment.  And as I read about Sam’s contemporaries, I do wonder whether ignorance was a sort of bliss: were people happier when they weren’t bombarded constantly with information about politicians and celebrities and sportsmen?  When they knew their family and their neighbours, and only occasionally did news about a world leader filter through – it was certainly a smaller life, but perhaps it was a happier one…