a new beginning

I can finally say I’ve started writing my second novel, which, coincidentally, is the sequel to the first. I’ve yet to find a publisher for The Black Rook, and at the rate I’m going by the time it’s published I’ll have completed the sequel.

The Black Rook deals with themes and issues very personal to me. The majority of it was penned during a period of my life when I was really struggling with mental health, and as such, a lot of my sadness and anger and faithlessness seeped into The Black Rook’s pages. When I returned to edit it for the final time in 2020 (at the peak of the UK’s first lockdown), I was struck by how much of my real life had infused the prose. It was a dark journey, reliving the depression and angst that had haunted my early to mid-20’s, but I felt I owed it to the past-me to polish up The Black Rook to a publishable standard – at least, I like to think it’s now a publishable standard – and to get it out there. I’m still on the lookout for a publisher, and the long wait to find one has meant that my motivation for writing the sequel has taken a nose-dive as of late.

But I can thankfully now report that I’ve started writing the sequel. And I’m sure many of my fellow writers will agree when I say that starting to write can be the biggest challenge of them all. Often, I find that my own personal version of writer’s block is simply an aversion to facing an empty Word document. Once I commence typing, the bubble bursts and the “writer’s block” disappears.

The challenge now is to keep at it. Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft completed some time this year. I’m not giving myself a specific deadline, although I know I could probably churn it out in a few months. I don’t want to put myself under that much pressure, especially with all of these lockdowns that have become a part of daily life. I’ve let writing a novel mentally and emotionally consume me before, and I won’t let that happen again!

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