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What writing work looks like

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Sometimes writing work doesn’t look like writing work. You don’t see me with a pen in my hand, or anywhere near a desk. and it’s not that i’m out glamorously filling the well in a gallery or the cinema or by the sea.

Sometimes writing work is an afternoon of shopping and carrying and chopping and cooking, hauling the food processor out of The Badly Stacked Cupboard Of Falling Down Things and repeatedly having to wash up.

It’s making mega chicken salads so I get the whole lunchbreak to write or read in, and don’t have my lycanthropy triggered by queues. Wait, no, I meant misanthropy. Some days they feel the same.

It’s cooking up a two-ton chocolate chilli so I don’t have to cook for the rest of the week – this way I get to write on the other nights, or meet up with sane (i.e non-writing) friends.

It’s making a dozen egg muffins so I have something to throw in my mouth while I’m writing on my commute, thus resisting the croissants at the station that make me sleepy ten minutes later & fall into flakes on my keyboard.

It’s me squinting in a badly lit bathroom, gamely cutting my own hair after watching a five minute youtube video, so I don’t have to talk to the hairdresser and have £40 for books instead.

And writing work can look like signing up for a free BFI course on film making or and getting obsessed with a new (to me) world of short films, because cross-pollination is awesome and it’s all stories, right?

It is super-glue difficult to unstick myself from the belief that I should be All Writing All The Time! Every Day! But it’s only by stopping regularly to sort the rest of my life out, and to take in pretty, non-writing things made by other people that I have a chance to keep up the energy & momentum to edit 80,000 words again.
And again.
And again…

Now playing, the spooky-beautiful & always dance-making ‘Of The Light’ by Psylhouette:

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let’s get lost

Just back from a few days in the magical New Forest ❤🌲🌳🐴🍃🌿🌾
It went like this: Long walks deep in the trees every day, sleeping in a teeny tiny shepherd’s hut complete with cat (& duckpond!). Local ale & great pub food in the evenings, woken up by owl hoots in the night.

Out of shot: bees, beetles, butterflies, birds, donkeys, deer & scotch-egg picnics.

I chose the New Forest for our holiday after reading ‘Gossip From The Forest’ by Sara Maitland, a wonderful book about the UK’s forests and the history of fairytales. Totally recommended if you are in any way a fan of trees and forests.

Reading it made me crave a trip away in the wild, out of sight and out of contact with everyone, and that’s exactly what I got. Bliss.

Bonus fact: West Norwood, a London train station I commute through every day, is the site of where a huge forest used to grow.

Once you know that, you notice the green and wildness curling round the edges there, how the trees are trying to grow back through the cracks and side streets’ corners. Adds some magic to my otherwise sterile commute.

Soundtrack: Let’s Get Lost, by Ride.

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An excellently blanketed workspace

A photo posted by Rhian (@rhian_bowley) on


So I’ve printed out the first 20k of my novel and now I’m carrying it round the house looking for somewhere comfy to edit it. Kinda like a dog turning round and round in circles before settling down to nap.

I want somewhere away from a desk and computer – I spend hours enough at a desk each week, and I’m editing by hand so I don’t get delete happy before I’ve read the whole scene. 

This here post is me assessing the bedroom for comfortability, having discounted the living room as too close to the tv, the kitchen too close to the fridge, and the garden as too full of distractions from visiting birds, prowling cats and rowdy neighbour noises. 

So far so good – bedroom is comfy, quiet, and excellently blanketed, and there’s a great stereo here, too. Perfect, so long as I avoid the obvious nap temptation. Which I think I will today, cos I rilly rilly want to get this 20k all prettified up.

Ok, go go editing pencil! 

Rewards of the day, for when I’ve Got Stuff Done: the next ep of Pretty Little Liars (shh no spoilers – am halfway through Season Three); 30 mins reading Deathless, by Catherynne Valente (so yummy); 15 mins playing FTL (this is a dangerous one. I always end up playing for longer). 

Now playing: Meet Ze Monsta, PJ Harvey.  Come here, o monster of editing, let me defeat you…

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Christmas shopping, solved in one delivery

Thanks Wordery 🙂

Christmas shopping: solved in one parcel. #books

A photo posted by Rhian (@rhian_bowley) on

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