Not being a religious fellow, the only impact that Easter usually has on my life is that I eat more chocolate than normal. I’m already something of a liability when it comes to moderating my sweets-and-chocolate intake, but put chocolate eggs in front of me and I’ll go all hummingbird on you — eating up to three times my own weight in Cadbury every single day. Unlike hummingbirds, however, I am neither delightful nor possessed of a metabolism capable of handling that sort of food consumption.
Easter is something of a lardy, bloated period of any given year for me, and it usually concludes with me looking like a melting walrus.
For once, this year I actually feel like I’ve done something worthwhile. Two somethings, in fact. First, I, along with some friends, completed the C2C challenge; cycling one-hundred-and-forty-something miles across the Pennines from Workington to Tynemouth. We opted to spread the ride over the whole Easter weekend in the hope of minimising saddle-soreness and maximising drinking time. We failed twice; no five men have ever complained about sore perineums as much as we did, and we were all in bed by 21:00 each night.
Still, we raised a reasonable sum of money between us for some charities that we care about (you can still sponsor me here, should you wish to) and we had a lot of fun.
My second achievement of this Easter period was to complete the third draft (which I’m actually referring to as ‘draft two’) of Monsters of Elsewhere. It’s taken me a while to get to this stage — which I talked about here — but now that I’m there, I feel pretty good about it. There’s still a lot of work to do, I’m painfully aware of that, but every time I work on it, it feels less like I’ve just vomited words onto a page and more like a novel.
It’s about fifteen-thousand words shorter than my original draft (if that sounds like a lot, it really isn’t… the bloody thing was one-hundred-and-eighty-thousand words), and therefore it feels much tighter. I already have an idea of the areas I need to work on, and this latest draft is currently being read by people I trust to tell me all the other areas that need some attention.
I have my copy printed out and waiting next to me as I write this, and I’ll sit down to start reading it tonight — it will be my fourth time of reading this book, and I estimate I’ll need to read it about that many times again before it’s complete.
Even though there’s still a lot of work to be done — this round of read-throughs, subsequent edits, another read-through, send to an editor, make changes, another read-through, send to a proofreader, edits, read, weep, format for print/ebook, read etc — I feel like this particular draft was a big one, and I feel good for completing it.
So, between lots of cycling, raising money for good causes, and reaching a landmark on my novel, I really feel like I’ve had an unusually productive Easter.
Plus, I’ve eaten a shitload of chocolate.