5th October 2012

Diary of an ending

As I write, it’s 10pm, Wednesday eve, 3rd October.  I have just written the last word of my co-written adult novel WIP.  I wrote it accompanied by Ane Brun, ‘These Days’, which you can listen to here, a track which Dean Harkness (@Deanus on Twitter) posted on Facebook while I was in the process of writing.  I have cried over my big smile and have a celebratory whisky.  To say this is an overwhelming moment would be an understatement.  I am, also, shattered.  It has been a somewhat busy few days, made up of quite a bit of productive procrastinating (yes, there really is such a thing) on my part, as I confess, I have been avoiding this ending! In fact, I had 4 possible endings, 1 old one, which we rejected, and then 3 new ones.

So, instead of writing, I have:
– re-done two worksheets on punctuation for my students.
– gone on a few hound walks listening to Linkin Park and Mazzy Star.
– tidied out a resource folder.
– wandered aimlessly round Tesco.
– eaten a Club orange cake bar for the first time (and very nice it was too.)
– drank coffee for the first time in 23 years (Oh dear! Very bad move.)
– bought this very funky, groovy bag…


– changed two very important words in a new picture book.
– written down a new idea for a 6-9 girls’ book.
– painted this, ‘Silver Birch 1’…

– and strarted this, which will be ‘Silver Birch 2’ when completed…


– watched X-Factor, Dr Who and cried at the end of the latter.
– took myself to bed early and watched a cloud that looked like a whale tail through the bedroom curtains…

and eventually
– typed the word ‘lettuce’.

I don’t know how many novels end with the word, ‘lettuce’. I can’t imagine it would be that many.  This is not a funny novel, I hasten to add, although it does have its moments.
Normally, at this point, the editing process would commence, but in this case, this isn’t what’s going to happen, because it’s already been done.  Having written this with my co-writer, the novel has been edited along the way.

So… this is it!  Eight months from ‘Drank’ to ‘lettuce’… and nearly 90,000 words in between.  Can’t be bad eh?

What superior procrastination techniques do you employ to avoid writing?

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About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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20 Responses to 5th October 2012

  1. Martin Day says:

    Well Done, Abi and a big congratulations. It must be a big milestone in the life of a real author.

    My procrastinations are of the inferior variety – in trying to clear a space of the little stones that hurt my feet all the time they are there – the ordinary stuff of life, changing energy or mobile phone suppliers, tax returns, food shopping, helping offspring with personal statements and changing university modules that turned out not to be right and all the little tasks other people can’t manage on their own, etc. But of course dig any hole and the little stones just roll right back in. Fail!

    • Aw! That’s such a good analogy, Martin. Your procrastinations may seem inferior but are very selfless, whereas mine tend to be a tad self-indulgents… I think that speaks for itself doesn’t it? Good on ya! 😉

  2. Jenny Alexander says:

    Well done on finishing, Abi! It’s a great feeling, but also bitter-sweet, as I recall, from when I finished my dream book earlier in the year. I feel that all procrastination is productive when it comes to the writing process – it’s a holding-the-space thing, where you aren’t ignoring or forgetting the task, but simply moving it to a quiet place where it can form up a little in peace, without you giving it hassle! So my procrastinations are always positive – mostly involving the beach – paddles and ice-creams in the summer, blustery walks in the winter, and plenty of sitting around in cafes. btw, serious hats off to anyone who can steer clear of coffee for 23 years!!

    • Ha ha! Me and caffeine don’t get on, Jenny, as was proved the other day!!! I like the sound of your procrastinations very much (that is such a hard word to type – procrastinations that is!) I think if I lived near the sea I’d be doing a lot of those!

  3. Jo Carroll says:

    Well done, Abi – I think this needs serious celebrating. Endings are both wonderful and sad – a parting with something you have been close to, and relief that it’s actually done.

    My favourite procrastination activity – going through my Lonely Planets and working out where to go next! (That won’t surprise you!)

  4. Congratulations! My very favorite procrastination technique is reading. And lately I’ve been doing a lot of it while I’m finding my way with the revision of my latest WIP. Well done on Drank to lettuce and everything in between. Cheers to you. (p.s. Are you like me that you always cry at the end?)

    • Thank you, Julia! Reading is a great escape isn’t it too? It just clears my head at times when I need to get rid of all the other clutter. Oh yes, I sobbed a tad at the end. Such an emotional point, so overwhelming and such a sense of achievement. Good luck with your revisions, Julia xo

  5. Echoing congratulations! Some lovely procrastinations there too…my favourite at the moment is getting out in the cooler, more colourful weather and then having a hot choc with whippy cream once home again!
    Love your Silver Birches too, I’m looking forward to a creative autumn, and some editing amongst it all!

  6. Walks and hot choc – me too, Lisa! Love that, especially in Autumn, as you say, when all the colours are changing. Ah, so glad you like the painting. I’m really enjoying doing them. Planning a series of 4 to 6, not sure yet. Happy creating and editing to you!

  7. Sally Poyton says:

    Glad you’ve managed to reach the end, especially with so many distractions. Talking of distractions, it must be nearly school pick up….

  8. Nadine says:

    I’ve been following your journey with this novel, and can understand the range of emotions you’re experiencing. This achievement calls for red wine or some bubbly. I share your joy, hon. You deserve to be this happy. 😀

    I also love the paintings, and am chuffed to bits at your plans for them. Wishing you great success in your writing and art work!

    Love your procrastination techniques, lol. If I’m not careful, I have a tendency to be a bit lazy and procrastinate, too. My major avoidance technique is watching TV, followed by taking a nap. Both are so lovely. 😉

    Cheers!

  9. The Hound says:

    Massive congrats on finishing the novel, Abi! I’m so pleased for you. I hope that one of these days, I’ll get to read it! 🙂 And I looooove the paintings. The colours are gorgeous.

    I usually procrastinate by spending far too much time on the internet, or reading. And like you, the nearer I am to the end of a project, the worse it gets!!

  10. Emma Pass says:

    Eek! That comment should have been from me, not The Hound! He hasn’t learnt to type just yet… 😀

    • Emma Pass says:

      Erm, and now the Hound’s comment has disappeared…? Oh, flippin’ ‘eck, I’m confused. ANYWAY just wanted to say a huge congrats!!!

      • Hee hee! Thank you, Em… and The Hound! I have to admit, I was a tad puzzled but very impressed. Was thinking of teaching Molly to drive so she could do the school run for me, and now wondering if I should try her on the lappo too 😀 Thanks ever so, and really pleased you like the paintings, especially given your artistic background and being wed to a fab artist, so especially lovely to get your feedback on these!

  11. Well done on finishing the novel – and for changing those two important words in the picture book!

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