September 2022

I’m approaching the end of a really busy period of work, none of it my own writing. As well as teaching a week on Fairy and Folk Takes for Ty Newydd in Wales with the excellent Catherine Johnson, I then taught a week online for Arvon about writing through and with and about bodies that are in less than perfect health – something I unfortunately know all too much about. I’m now running another retreat out here under the banner, and then I can actually have some time off with family. But…all the time, I am thinking about the book that I have not yet written.

I am continuing to play a game of chicken run with the deadline that is approaching me in the opposite direction at high speed. Two thirds of the year have passed – I know I am not alone in wondering how this is possible – but I know that it will be a mistake if I start to write before I am really ready, which is not looking possible much before the middle of October as my work is looking currently. We will see how that pans out, and publishers don’t tend to send the boys round with a heavy stick if you miss a deadline, but I have signed a contract with two new publishers for this book and I do not want to let anyone down. Still, better a book that is a month late than one that is bad, or never arrives at all, which is very possibly what will happen if I start to try to write it too soon.

Meanwhile, some good news occurred, after months of on/off and wrangling and woes, it seems that my book about ‘medical gaslighting’, i.e., about what happens when your doctor doesn’t believe you, will finally be appearing in the world in October. All In Your Head has been a long time in the making and I suspect won’t get the biggest airing of all time, but I think it was important for my sanity to write it and I am honoured that someone wants to put it out into the world in any form whatsoever. What happened to me nearly 9 years ago of falling ill and not being taken seriously by my doctors is now happening to many more people due to You Know What, and I hope that my story can warn a few more people about the fight you have to undertake for yourself if this happens to you, and the ways to stay sane if it does.

I feel as if this year so far has been about juggling things, paying brief attention to one thing and then another and then another for five minutes at a time, and I long to just have some good solid mornings at my desk and do the thing that makes me feel as close to whole as I ever get – ie, writing a book. But it can’t be shit. Somewhere I have to find the quality I need to make the book have a purpose and an identity, which I am feeling very vague about at the moment. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s that my attention span is as short and as all over the place as this blog post. What writing gives me is a solid, firm path to follow, for the time during which I am writing, and I hope to find my feet on that solid ground very soon. Only one way to find out, but first I must play the waiting game just a little longer. If I haven’t started getting close to writing the next time I write one of these posts, I may start to lose my nerve. Nothing to do therefore but stop whining and get on with it.

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Author Marcus Sedgwick is 2022 Novel Writer-in-Residence for the Hub, WriteMentor’s community learning platform that connects like-minded storytellers and provides all the tools they need for writing success.

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