A week and a half into the core writing zone of my journey I’m pleased to be able to report that I’ve hit the 10,000 word marker. It was a mixed week, with massive output on a couple of days, some moderate achievements on a couple of others and one complete wipe-out day when I did a big fat zero (don’t ask!).

You may recall my firmly-stated resolution to produce a standard 1500 words per day, but perhaps unsurprisingly this hasn’t quite translated into reality. I put this down to still being in somewhat of a ‘settling in’ phase, a second and most unwelcome bout of flu, and the competing allure of going out adventuring with HWB while he has been here with me. A jaunt to the medieval walled citadel, La Cité, was obligatory and it’s been impossible to resist several petites exploratory and coffee drinking forays. I’m feeling like a local in la Place Carnot.

Going native …

As I type, I’m home alone and HWB is somewhere in the air between Toulouse and Frankfurt. He is going off to pursue his own artistic and business dreams in Germany, Italy and Malta, leaving me to focus 100% on my writing for the next seven weeks. But before we parted company we had a quick weekend getaway to Toulouse.

Streets of Toulouse

La Ville Rose is the fourth largest city in France and is only a quick 40 minute train ride from Carcassonne. It is famous for its pink brick buildings which glow gorgeously in the sunset and for its local dish of cassoulet (confit of duck, pork sausage and harricot beans in a kind of stew arrangement). Cassoulet is famous throughout the Languedoc region, but Toulouse is its capital so we went in search of the real thing and found it in a fantastic restaurant called La Cave au Cassoulet. As indicated by the name, it is located in an underground cellar, and along with the véritable cassoulet we indulged in pâté de foie gras, tarte tatin and a tasty local Château Laffitte Teston. It was all très délicieux, but not quite as fabulous as Hannah’s farewell French feast 🙂

Yum!

This morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of crepes under the plane trees in Place St-Georges (the former town execution venue) before exploring the
Musée des Augustins. This fine art museum specialises in sculpture and paintings from the middle ages and is set in the stunning cloisters, church, halls, sacristy and dortoirs of a 14th century monastery.


Musée des Augustins

Aside from being the home of pink bricks, le cassoulet and a regional reputation for excellence in les beaux-arts, Toulouse has also had a long history as a centre of violet growing. The little purple flower is the emblem of the city, and one of my personal favourite flowers of all time. Imagine my delight when we discovered the charming Maison de la Violette, a showcase of all things violet housed in a barge on the Canal du Midi. I resisted the temptations of violet tea and candied violet sweets, and reluctantly pulled myself away from some lovely violet-flowered tea pots, but I couldn’t resist buying a little bottle of violet eau de parfum. I intend to squirt myself with it if/when I find that writing inspiration has momentarily fled.

The scent of writing success …

Tomorrow I shall roll up my sleeves and set to writing with reinvigorated fervour. And just to spice things up, I’ve decided to set myself a new challenge. When HWB returns from Malta at the beginning of July we will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. We have decided to mark the occasion in style with a bang-up dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in La Cité called Le Barbacan which we confidently expect to be a once-in-a-life-time meal. How much more celebratory would it feel, I thought, if it was also the Completion of the Book triumph dinner? And as an added bonus I would also then have two weeks of fancy-free holiday time with HWB before we return home to Australia.

This revised target means that I have to shave two weeks of writing time off my projections and increase my minimum production to 2000 words per day. Challenging – yes. Achievable – also yes. I haven’t yet found myself in the writing ‘zone’ where output becomes effortless, but it’s been fun and I think the tale is shaping well. And I’m sure that now I am alone and free from husbandly divertisements the words will flow abundantly.

I leave you today with a pic of a stunning rose from the cloister of the
Musée des Augustins which is the exact colour of my wedding dress 🙂

Encore, la vie en rose

5 thoughts on “10,041 Words and Counting …

  1. Wow the adventures certainly are gathering pace. Toulouse looks just glorious. What a perfect little weekend escapade with HWB.
    Ah yes the joys of the writing life. There are the days when it seems like the work is singing and the words just seem effortlessly fly out and then there are the days that no matter what you do or how hard you try it feels like you are trying to extract water out of a stone. Worst of all the days when the desk seems to be a forbidding fortress.
    However don’t despair when the fortress days come along as you may in fact still be writing. Many writers discuss how they find themselves still writing while doing the dishes, taking a shower or going for a walk. I can attest it is true. There has been a few times I have had to dash out of the shower (yes dripping wet) to grab the notebook to ensure the scene or idea is captured, or the times while going for a walk I have had to whip the phone out and dictate a scene or conversation that has just emerged in my head. It’s as though the writing genie is telling you that you need to mull through that tricky scene or direction before it will sing to you again. It then gives you the weapons to break through the defenses of the desk fortress and suddenly an hour or so later a scene is there in front of you.
    This is all part of the writing adventure and as someone who is only coming up to 18,000 words is exceedingly impressed. As you know my writing time is very, very limited and it is why I am supremely confident that you will meet your deadline.
    Tellement bon d’écrire mon ami! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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