The third round of the Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships for 2015 have kicked off, and I’m starting to settle into my space. I’ve brought in books and tea and scrappy manuscript copies for marking up and stabbing holes in when I get to the stabby part of the day.

Many, many, many thanks to the Wheeler Centre for having me – it’s a huge vote of confidence in my work. I’m chuffed, too, to be in such wonderful company with the other hot deskers, whose projects sound amazing. You’ll have a chance to hear a bit from each of the projects at the Next Big Thing event later in the year – I’ll post more details about this closer to the event.

My desk sign
My desk sign

It’s been surprisingly difficult to settle into working here. Monday was written off for me – I came in and pottered around and achieved exactly nothing. I’ve been thinking too much about whether I’m working effectively, and how to achieve things. I keep picturing the reading event I’ll be participating in at the end of this fellowship and wondering how I’m going to turn what I’ve got now into something that’s really impressive and that I’m proud to share with other people. I’m at A. I can see C. I haven’t been able to fathom what B looks like or how it works.

Am I working correctly? Am I achieving things? Am I making progress? Who’s watching me? Do I look like a person who’s getting things done?

Between Monday and now though, the Wheeler Centre have shared some information about the new Hot Desk Fellows, and our projects. It’s reminded me that the goal of my project is clear and relatively simple. I’ve also broken down what I can to immediately into little, bite-sized chunks. Rather than trying to think about how to make my work better, or how to get it ‘finished’, I’m focussing, this week, on identifying the gaps in the story, so that I can list these and go about filling them out over the coming weeks.

Maybe it’s not useful to share all this self-doubt, but I’ve never read anything about settling into a residency before; it’s not something I expected to find difficult. But it is a bit difficult, so I think it’s also worth sharing. I’m secretly hoping that when I get to the end of my time here, I’ll be able to look back at this post and feel grateful that I moved (swiftly, with grace and aplomb…) through this awkward first few days. It’s a journey worth trying to document a bit.