Tag Archives: relaxation

Friday Fun

If my life is going to plan, as you read this post I should either be in my mother’s kitchen drinking tea, or in my friend’s kitchen drinking tea and watching her flock of ducklings pootle around her front yard. Either of these scenarios will do just fine.

You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me? I don' see no other duck aroun' here... Image: polkaperson.tripod.com

You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me? I don’ see no other duck aroun’ here…
Image: polkaperson.tripod.com

Where I won’t be is at my desk tapping away at a keyboard wondering when I’m ever going to finish Draft 4 of ‘Tider’; this is, of course, because I have finished Draft 4 of ‘Tider’.

In two-and-a-half months, I have managed to rewrite this beast of a book and bring it to its fourth draft. I think that’s the work of a derange… I mean, brilliant mind. I think I have spotted all the major plot gaps and loopholes, and I think I’ve worked through most of the complications inherent in working with a story that involves a sort of time travel (word to the wise: do not write about time travel, ever); I think my protagonist shows the expected growth and development in her character between page 1 and page 263, and as far as I know, justice and righteousness prevail, and all is good with the world, tra-la.

Note the use of the word I think, or some derivative thereof.

Image: myenglishclub.com

Image: myenglishclub.com

I think I’ve done all this, but it may yet turn out that I am flawed in my thinking. I’m sure there are things I’ve missed, and I hope when I print the book and start doing a hard-copy edit, that these things will become evident. I hope that I won’t uncover a major error with far-reaching consequences, which will rend the delicate fabric of my carefully constructed world in twain. All I can say is: if it happens, it happens. Worrying about it now won’t change anything.

So, this brings us back to the tea and the ducks. I’m going home (i.e. to The Place of my Illustrious Birth) for the weekend, mostly to spend time with family, attend a wedding celebration and forget entirely about the world of ‘Tider’ and the travails of Maraika, my plucky heroine; I shall, all going well, be back at the coalface come Monday morning, bright and early.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends, and that they involve tea, relaxation, and herding small, waddling feathered creatures.

Or, at least, tea and relaxation.

Image: pbh2.com

Image: pbh2.com

Unworthy

Today’s post is not just an excuse to use an image like this:

They weren't worthy! Neither am I! Image: teamliquid.net

They weren’t worthy! Neither am I!
Image: teamliquid.net

However, while it may not have been the main reason, I have to admit the thought of using this image was part of my decision-making process. I love ‘Wayne’s World’, the ‘We’re Not Worthy!’ sketch has always made me laugh, and – I promise – there’s a connection ‘twixt image and blog post. Today I wanted to write a bit about something which has been weighing on me lately, and it’s connected with a feeling of unworthiness, or a nagging sense of I’m not good enough and I should just give up now before I make an idiot of myself and everyone is probably secretly laughing at me.

It’s an extremely damaging thing, this feeling. Not only for my efforts to create a career, but also for my own mental health. As well as all that, it’s completely ridiculous, but I find it difficult to remember that at times.

Ever since I started to write, and made it public (i.e. by submitting work wherever I could submit it, starting this blog and telling people about what I was up to, and trying not to cringe while I described myself as ‘a writer’), I’ve received nothing but solid support. Everyone – including friends of friends, people who only know me through my parents or my husband or, amazingly, people who don’t know me in real life at all and who I’ve only met through the medium of the internet – has lifted me up on a swell of encouragement and has been delighted to hear about my efforts; several people have even told me how impressed they are by my decision to follow a dream and do my best to live the life I’ve always wanted. Sometimes, I wonder if this is part and parcel of being a writer in Ireland, where I still think creativity is seen as a good and noble thing and not completely off-the-wall – but then, I’ve received support from all over the world, so perhaps that’s beside the point. Whatever the reason, I am grateful beyond measure for every smidgen of encouragement, and I hope this feeling I’m trying to describe, this feeling of ‘unworthiness’, won’t be understood as ungrateful rejection of all the generous and loving support I’ve been lucky enough to receive. That’s not what I mean, at all. These unworthy feelings are something I’m imposing on myself; it’s not out of character for me, but I really wish I could stop doing it.

It all began to manifest like this: on one of the recent occasions where I had something accepted for publication, I remember greeting the news not with unalloyed joy and a sense of accomplishment, but with a tinge of discomfort and upset. I’ve been trying to work out why ever since, and I’ve concluded that it was because despite working hard over the story, I felt wasn’t good enough, and I hadn’t been expecting it to be accepted, and when it was – well. My brain sort of flipped.

I couldn’t bring myself to think that ‘maybe the story was a little bit better than you’d thought it was’ or ‘perhaps you’re being a little hard on yourself’; I started to think damaging and destructive things like ‘they must have been short on entries’ or ‘they needed to fill a space in the publication.’ Now, I’m pretty sure those things aren’t true. I’m pretty sure the publishers had no shortage of stories to choose from. They chose mine, but I couldn’t allow myself to be pleased. I started doing that thing I do – you know the one, where I have a reaction which I know is irrational and silly, but I can’t help myself – and it felt really unpleasant. I felt like I was unworthy of the honour of having my story accepted, like the publishers were doing me a favour instead of saying ‘This story is good enough to form part of our publication’; it made me feel very odd. I didn’t like it. At the same time, I didn’t really know what to do in order to tackle it.

Writing is not an easy thing – I’m not even talking about the act of pulling words out of your brain and slapping them down on a page, though that is difficult too, of course. What I mean is, it’s not an easy thing to spend so much time by yourself, and to have little but your own thoughts for company; even if, like me, you’re a person who enjoys being alone and who thrives in the world of the mind, it can be a challenge. I’m beginning to wonder if too much time spent thinking can lead to the struts which keep your mind steady buckling a little under the strain, which can affect the way you see the world and yourself, and your place in it. It’s hard, too, to pressure yourself just enough to meet all your obligations and deadlines without exerting too much force, and ending up pressuring yourself into oblivion. When you only have yourself to regulate the pressure, it’s clear that sometimes things can go wrong.

So, I’m taking that on board today, and I’m going to think about ways in which I can create a new balance in my life without sacrificing too much of my writing time. I may take a few days’ leave from the blog – a little holiday, perhaps – and I may print out, in big letters, a sign which says the words YOU ARE ENOUGH! and place it over my desk. I am enough – I do enough – I will be enough.

I hope nobody can relate to this post, and that you’re all too clever to allow yourselves to fall into a trap like this one. I hope that your writing lives (and your non-writing lives, come to that!) are flourishing, that you’re taking it easy, and not piling pressure on your own heads. Thank you for all your support – I hope I’ll be able to continue counting on it! – and I hope Tuesday turns out to be a jewel of a day for all of you.

And remember – you are enough!

Sunny Saturday

I won’t detain you for very long today, as I hope you all have better things to be doing on a Saturday than reading a blog post. If you don’t have anything better to be doing, then go and find something better to do! Perhaps you could dance around a bit:

This guy = hero.Image: beforebigs.com

This guy = hero.
Image: beforebigs.com

Or maybe you’d prefer to read a funny book:

Image: 123rf.com

Image: 123rf.com

Or (best of all), maybe you could find someone to go for a walk with, or just even snuggle up to:

Isn't this lovely?Image: fineartamerica.com

Isn’t this lovely?
Image: fineartamerica.com

I’ve just been out for a wonderfully long walk myself, where I did a lot of thinking and quite a bit of rocking out (thank goodness for phones that are ‘smart’ enough to pick up a decent radio station!), and I’m back behind my desk now to get stuck into the last few chapters of ‘Eldritch’. It has been an easy and enjoyable write so far, but I know I have some work to do, particularly with tightening up my narrative voice. The commenters on http://www.authonomy.com have been very helpful, but I’ve been getting brilliant feedback from a few friends too, all of which will go towards making the story better. Keep an eye on the Authonomy site over the next week, if you’ve been following the ‘Eldritch’ story – I’ll be posting up some redrafts there soon.

Today is such a beautiful day here in my corner of Ireland – it’s bright, sunny and crisp. It’s like the whole world has taken a deep breath after the oppressive, dark, rainy weather we’ve had over the last few weeks. I’ve thrown open all my windows, and I’m buzzing with energy and determination to see ‘Eldritch’ through to the finish line. Hopefully it’ll be today. Wish me luck!

And have a beautiful Saturday, whatever you’re doing. I’m sending you a little bit of sunshine!

Image: cauldronsandcupcakes.com

Image: cauldronsandcupcakes.com

The Journey Begins Again!

Apologies for the (very) late delivery of this morning’s missive. The delay is due to the fact that I’ve spent most of the morning searching for my password to the new Authonomy profile I set up for myself last week. Of course, just as I’d given up hope of finding it, and requested the site to send me a new one, what happened? I found where I’d taken careful note of the original password, tucked neatly away in my notebook – for whatever reason, my eye had just hopped over it the last ten or fifteen times I’d looked. So, then I had to reset the new password and reinstate the old one… *wipes brow*

And all this before I’ve put up a word of my writing!

So, Monday morning has been a bit of a kerfuffle so far. Perhaps that’s because I had a wonderful weekend, spent with family and friends (in fact, spent with friends who are as good as family, so the best of both worlds!), and during which I didn’t worry about writing, or my work, or the future. I met a beautiful new baby girl who melted my heart, and I took a long walk in the wind and rain – that might not sound like fun to some people, but I enjoyed it. All this relaxation, and the change in my focus and pace, is probably responsible for my ditziness this morning. But it’s wonderful to have the opportunity, and the license, to be ditzy once in a while.

I had managed to wind myself up into a panic about The Novel at the end of last week – none of which was necessary, of course – and I had felt like I was making myself unwell as the week drew to a close. I had a sore throat, I was exhausted, and I felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head. Thankfully, I feel much more rested now and eager to begin the work of writing once again. The weekend was a lifesaver, really. I’d decided on Saturday that I felt unable to continue with ‘Tider’ for the minute, and I thought I might leave it for a while, and focus on other things – but in my heart, what I really meant was ‘I think I might leave it, forever, and forget I ever started writing it.’ Thankfully, I no longer feel that way. During my refreshing walk yesterday, I found myself thinking about the book and coming up with another idea to strengthen the beginning of the story – so I’m taking that as a hint that my mind hasn’t finished with this story yet.

My walk left me feeling (and looking!) a lot like this guy. Invigorating, to say the least! Image: theatlantic.com

My walk left me feeling (and looking!) a lot like this guy. Invigorating, to say the least!
Image: theatlantic.com

I’m going to do some work on my other WiP today, though, the first book in what I’m dubbing ‘The Astolat Conspiracy’. I have a trilogy planned out, and I’m enthusiastic about the characters, their voices, and the plot. I’m ten chapters into the first book, and I’ll keep you all posted on how it’s going. In the next few days you’ll probably see new Tabs appearing across the top of this blog, where you’ll be able to find out more about ‘Tider’ and my other WiPs. (At least, if I can figure out how to do it in an elegant manner, you will. My husband the computer genius is away for a few days with work, so he can’t help me. I’m a bit apprehensive about going it alone!) And, if I haven’t locked myself out of my Authonomy account forever, I’ll tell you how that’s going, too.

It’s all happening around here today! I hope your weekend was restful and relaxing, and that you’re full of energy and enthusiasm for the week ahead.

(And even if you’re not full of energy and enthusiasm, I hope you have a great Monday, and a happy and productive week ahead of you. I recommend going to visit a gorgeous newborn, and then taking a walk in the rain. It worked for me!)