So, I’ve been talking about lots of different projects for ages now. And I moved to my country retreat in Longford to “be a writer”. I still have to put “writer” in inverted commas. It’s not real yet. But I have started making progress.

My novel has been terrorising me since I made the decision a month ago to change it to a first-person narrative, which works much better, but makes it difficult for me to separate the main character from me. It’s there. It’s happening. It’s slow. It will speed up in November, but I have three other projects (besides my many jobs) to deal with in the mean time.

The writing/research project I started seriously planning about ten months ago is my Body Histories project and I have a test site up at bodyhistories.com. I’ve been messing around with this project for ages and ages. I find the topic fascinating and I think there are so many places that I could take it, but I’ve been too scared to do anything about it and actually set up some interviews and start gathering data and building up my database of stories of people’s bodies. I’ve been too scared, partly because I’ve built it up so much, and partly because I’m afraid of the kind of feelings the interviews will stir up. Am I returning to the kind of raw emotions I experienced while doing my PhD interviews? Would that be a good or a bad thing? I don’t know. Anyway, no more shilly shallying. Today I sent out my first invitations to people asking them to be interviewed. Gulp. Argh! Expect something solid in six weeks or so.

The next project came from nowhere. I was actually worried about telling people about this because I don’t have an answer for when people ask me why I want to do it. I have created a news blog, called Today in Toilets (todayintoilets.com) with all the latest news about toilets. And I genuinely find it really interesting. I’ve set up a Google Alert for news about toilets and I select some of the best of the day’s stories and blog about them. I’ve done it every day this week, and now I’m ready to come out as a “toilet blogger”. I suppose toilets are a central part of our lives, and there’s a lot more news about them than you’d think, but as far as I know, mine is the first blog dedicated to toilet news. There are lots of wonderful local news stories about toilets. And local news is one of my favourite things in the world. And toilets lend themselves to humour too. But toilets are serious business as well, and the current campaign in India to provide indoor toilets across the country and to convince people to use them is important and fascinating. Toilets have turned out to be a fascinating lens through which I’m learning more about the world. And I’ve only been doing this for a week. I kind of love it.

There is another blogging project coming soon, hopefully starting tomorrow, but I won’t say anything more about that until a few more test runs, just in case it’s awful.

This is exciting stuff. I’m not sure what my end goal is, but I know I want to make a serious go of writing as a lifestyle and possibly even as a living. Ideally, I want to be done with English language teaching and training jobs within a year. Fingers crossed.

In other good news, at my last weigh-in, I lost another 5 pounds, so I’m down nineteen pounds overall like some kind of Jedi master of weight control. It’s been an excellent month.

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