A Sit Down and a Cuppa, Part 1

I’ve got half an hour to kill before I have to head for work – I’ve just had my nails redone after my original ones disintegrated last night (bad batch of gel polish, by the looks of things – pure bad luck and the lady who does my nails was an absolute sweetheart) and it’s time to sit in a coffee shop for a brief sneeze of time. I’ve got myself a cup of tea with a slightly odd flavour to it – I have a horrible feeling I’ve actually ordered oat milk instead of proper milk. It’s not unpleasant. It’s not entirely pleasant either.

Why not have a little rambly ramble while I’m here?

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A cup of tea, in a Starbucks cup, with a Christmas sleeve, at Caffè Nero. Yeah, OK.

This is what I usually do when I have a few minutes spare. Is that sad? If I don’t have time to get really stuck into any of my writing projects, or crack on with sorting The Bean Jar, I sit down and do a little train of thought. It’s almost like writing in a journal – I just let whatever’s in my head come spilling out.

If I was into ‘mindfulness’ and all that spiritual bullshit, I might even call it that.

But I’m not.

I said a little while ago that I should go back to basics with this blog, that my natural rambles have always shown a lot more personality than the ‘article’-type posts I’ve tried to write before. And then, of course, as I always do, I went silent. For months. Oh well.

I’m back now, I’m bored, and I’m going to have a happy little chat while I grimace and suck down this slightly odd tea.

So what’s going on that I feel the need to rant on about? While I eat my thankfully thoroughly unquestionable pain au chocolat and ignore the screaming child sitting behind me (not mine, I hasten to add – he’s at home with his daddy having a lovely time).

At the moment, my mind is about 80% taken up with The Bean Jar. I’m so, so close to publishing it – it’s got its cover, I’ve faffed endlessly with formatting for both the eBook and the paperback, and re-faffed when it turned out my original faffing was a right old faff-up.It’s more or less ready to go. I’ve got business cards and everything.

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I keep finding more things to delay me, though. My latest stumbling block is the blurb for the book; the first thing anyone will see when they’re paging through Amazon, and the first thing anyone will look at when they happen to pick it up. Oh, and I’ve got to sort the ISBN, that’s a pretty big thing too. I don’t know if I’m using these things as an excuse to wait a bit longer before publication because I’m nervous, or if they’re actual stumbling blocks.

Probably the former, let’s be honest.

That and I’ve just got no time at the moment. Sure, I only work 20 hours a week, but the rest is spent with a very demanding two-year-old and a house that will just not stay clean. Sure, I should be working on the book when he’s asleep, but by that point I’m usually knackered, headachey, and my brain won’t commit to anything except collapsing on the sofa in a puddle with a bag of Mini Eggs and RuPaul’s Drag Race for the 723rd time.

Yet still, still, I’m having ideas for new books, and how to kick my existing projects into action. Come on brain, give me a break here. Lately, it’s Bisous, Tilly that’s decided to occupy my mind. Admittedly, I’ve been listening to a lot of the fabulous Delain, who have always been my musical link to Tilly and her story – I’ve conditioned myself to think of her every time I hear them, in a rather Pavlovian fashion.

Oh, I’ve got so many ideas for it though. Bisous, Tilly, is my attempt at Young Adult fiction, the diary of a sixteen-year-old French girl forced to move in with her new step-family in the quaint English countryside. I started writing its very first draft back in 2008 (!) and now I’m on the, what, fourth version? Fifth? I’m not sure, but there’s about to be another one. I want to bring it fully up to date, and that’s probably going to involve a good rewrite. It’s nearly 200,000 words long as it is, and I’m not sure whether it’s going to get shorter or longer. Yikes.

Anyway, I’m coming to the end of my little spell here in Caffè Nero now, and I should probably get up off my arse and go to work. Gateline to guard, trains to watch. Standard.

I think I will do this again, it’s quite enjoyable! I hope you’re all having a lovely day with plenty of less-questionable tea in your lives, and probably a few less angry football fans who haven’t heard about the train strikes…

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