The walls of my study are covered in type-written pages. Each page has at least 5 earlier versions beneath it, with bits added or crossed out in red and with parts needing attention marked with fluro-lime highlighter. 8 rows of A4 pages across, 6 rows down. That's been the wallpaper for the last twelve months or so as I've written and re-written the book that's now been published as 'A Slow Walk Across Spain, Walking the Camino de Santiago'.
For a long time I wrote straight onto my computer. I got more and more frustrated with how difficult it was to visualise the whole book. On the computer it was just one page at a time. I needed to see what the book 'felt' like as a whole. Pushing aside the guilt of all that printed paper, I decided to put the whole thing on the wall. From that moment, it all got a lot easier. I could stand up and walk slowly along the walls, reading and marking out bits and pieces as I went. I could move sections around. Maybe it's got something to do with me being a certain kind of writer or learner, but physically moving bits of text and being able to 'walk through my book' felt way better than cutting and pasting on the computer.
My study is also the spare room, so a good friend who stayed a few times gave me some great feedback on sections that she'd read first thing in the morning or just before she hit the sack.
Now that the book's out there, I guess it's time to take all those pages down. Put them to bed. Clear the decks. Turn over a new leaf. Move on to the next thing.
It's probably not surprising that I haven't taken the draft pages down. Some of them are now hanging by one piece of Blu Tak. The other day I came up here and the best part of a chapter lay on the floor. "Time to clear up Karen" said the pages, in a tone exactly like the one my mum used all those years ago when warning me that I'd better clean up my room - pronto. I picked up the pages, grabbed some extra BluTak and stuck them back on the walls, my chin jutting out like a rebellious thirteen-year-old.
Because it's not just about cleaning up a study. It's about saying goodbye to a project that's taken the best part of 4 years and it's about facing that scarey question: 'What's next?' Besides, I LIKE my wallpaper.