My toughest critic was not invited to participate in the Young Writer in Residence program at KSP Writers Centre, and so I left her at home.
I tried to remind myself, daily, that I had been selected to be there. I had been given permission to not do laundry or vacuum or cook nutritious meals, and was really, in fact, expected to be writing for a large portion of the time. It wasn't all that hard to remember. Katharine's Place is a hub of writerly enthusiasm, and through reading the guest book, I could see my place in a long literary chain of names I knew and names I didn't... people like Tracy Farr, Alice Pung, PA O'Reilly and Annabel Smith.
For the first time, I looked at my novel with properly new eyes. The pressure was gone. No, it was not perfect, but it was not awful either, and every new word I put down on the page was a mark of progress and improvement. The work that I did over the ten days I spent in Greenmount was some of the most inspired and productive I have produced in years. I felt my priorities properly realigning, and a powerful feeling of purpose underlined the choices I made.
In ten days, I managed to write 40 000 words, advancing me significantly along my planned path- since coming home, I have not quite kept up the same momentum, but I have written a little every day, finding time before or after work, and thinking about the world of my story when I am away from it. Currently, I am trying to decide whether or not I want to keep the ending to part 4, but I am on track to finish the book by new year, and then the adventure of sending it to agents and publishers awaits....