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I know this seems like a small achievement, but it’s really not. I have 4000 words of fiction! That’s more than I’ve had in a long time!

I also went to the library and borrowed a bunch of books on convict women. I haven’t really written historical fiction of any substance before and it’s strange, because you think you have the broad strokes all sorted but as soon as you start to try and describe anything you realise “hang on, what was working class attire like then?” (I’m still wading through info here – like, how fast did ‘fashion’ trickle down to the working classes? Did their style change as much from era to era as the richer folk’s did?) and “did they sleep in hammocks or on bunks?” (depends on the ship) and a million other questions. Sometimes I just press on and try to get a sense of the characters and what’s happening more than what they wore or looked like, but a common criticism about my longer form writing has been that I don’t put enough concrete detail in. I guess I can put it in later.

It’s all pretty interesting, though it’s hard not to fall down a research wormhole when you are just trying to keep the word count climbing. I’m starting to have a routine going too, which is interesting. I have always resisted routine but I recognise that it’s actually very helpful (and not entirely true – I resist good routine but find it all too easy to set up bad ones). So I am getting up, putting on trackies and sneakers and going for a walk first thing. Then I come home for breakfast and try to write at least one scene of story before I check social media or anything that will distract me. Then I settle down to work for the day. At bedtime, I read something research related, which sets me up for the morning.

How long before I can call it a routine? Is three days enough? Will it stick? I hope so.