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Why writing a book is uncomfortably like moving house

After a great meeting with a publisher at the end of last year, I’ve spent the last month and a half working on edits of my middle-grade novel. Maybe it’s because we’ve just moved house and have been in the throes of ripping out floors, re-plastering and whole scale re-decorating but I’ve definitely been seeing parallels between the writing process and moving house/renovation!

Here are the 12 stages as I see them.


Stage 1


Getting the idea!


Let’s move house you say. It’ll be fab. It’ll be wonderful. Think how great it will be. I can see us now in our shiny new house.

I’m going to start looking right now and make time every day. Hey everyone I’m going to find a new house!



Stage 2




That’s weird what was in my head looked so much bigger/ shinier/ more spacious/ exciting/ unique than what I’m seeing here.



Stage 3


Putting in the legwork


If I have to spend another wet weekend slogging round houses or trawling the Internet researching locations I’m going to scream.


But now I’ve started I have to keep going, besides everyone thinks I’m moving.



Stage 4




This is hopeless. It’s never going to happen.


I used to love our house and now all I can see is the chipped paint, the grotty grout and the fact it’s crammed with all manner of rubbish.



Stage 5




Don’t talk to me about moving house.

I’m giving up. I’m just going to live in the mess. I didn’t want to move anyway.



Stage 6


OK one last go


People keep sending me houses to look at.
Right sod it I’m going to give it one last try. I’ll look at everything there is. Maybe I’ve missed something along the way.



Stage 7


This is it! The end!


I found it! It’s the one. Everything on the checklist has a tick. This is fantastic. I’m so glad I hung on. I’m so glad I didn’t give up. Thank you everyone!



Stage 8


Reality check – it’s not the end is it…


What do you mean it has woodworm? Look, the gutters are meant to be at that angle. No, I don’t want you to rip out the front wall.



Stage 9




I’ve had the list of work needed and it’s not looking good. How am I ever going to get all this done? What have I taken on?
I’ve just had the floors done what do you mean you need to rip them up again to lay the pipe work?


I can’t handle this.



Stage 10




Phase one is complete. Yeah, yeah I know there are 5 phases to go but let’s enjoy the fact I have a watertight house. Now it’s just a matter of digging deep and doing the work.



Stage 11


Say goodbye to the builders.

We’re properly finished. Time to celebrate.



Stage 12




What shall we do now? You know, I have a great idea for an extension …

Dragon artwork used on this site courtesy of Sara Ogilvie (illustrator) & Nick Stearn (cover design)

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