It’s amazing what a few days off, a couple of pieces of good news and vast amounts of cake can do for your mood. Much better now, and thank-you for your comments on the last post. I hate to be a whining over-sharer but this blog is about what it feels like for me, being a writer, and sometimes it is nerve-racking and difficult and it feels bad, no matter what the life looks like from the outside. It doesn’t look like much right now, because I am Between Projects and that’s scary.
Carrying on involves finding ways to write anyway and figuring out what you need so you can write. I’ve been contenting myself with research and planning and day-dreaming, lots of reading and taking my daily photographs – which will be up here soon. I’ve convinced myself it is okay to be lazy for the next couple of months and staring out of windows and drawing flow-charts on the back of PTFA letters (no I won’t give you any more sodding money) is work too, even though it doesn’t look like it.
Carrying on also involves bucking yourself up and giving yourself a virtual slap around the head. This is the job I always wanted to do. I do it at home. I don’t even need to wear shoes most of the time. We’re all healthy and my run-away cat came back at the weekend. I can play with Lego whenever I like. What more could a person want?
I need to find ways to fill up the tank again before I start writing. Reading, I think, and meeting with the new fiction workshop group I’ve set up, and watching films, and getting outside, and making space in my day to be bored sometimes.
I think having these crises of confidence now and again helps me to be a better teacher too. It is scary to stand up in front of people and read your work. It is scary to share an idea and ask ‘does this sound all right, do you think?’ and it is scary to be between novels. Will I ever be able to do it again? I remember that feeling from last time. I think about the advice I gave to a writer in one of my workshops last week – you’ll always be nervous because it matters so much to you, and if it didn’t matter, you might not be nervous but the writing wouldn’t be as good. Might not be true for her, or for you, but it was and is for me.
What do you do when you’re not writing?