Here I am, taking a few deep breaths and telling myself to write something, anything will do. No one needs to read the words I share. Just write. You’ve got this.
It’s wild, just how easily I become distracted from doing the thing I love. Planning a new adventure, starting a new exercise routine, gearing up for the wedding of two wonderful friends, and then of course, recovering from the wedding of two wonderful friends. Such lovely things to have happened recently and yet, they pulled me off course.
I stopped writing for about a month. I had not long been told by the wonderful Erika Lance of 4 Horsemen Publications that I must write for an hour a day. Keep writing Jess, she told me at the end of our podcast recording. Her pep talk inspired a couple of weeks of impassioned morning writing stints, and then life stuck its nose in and suddenly, writing fell to the bottom of my list.
To put things into greater perspective, I am currently both childless and dogless - the latter really bothers me the most. I don’t have a mortgage or a stressful job, I don’t have major relationship troubles, unless my partner decides he wants to spend a few consecutive nights in our living room/kitchen/dining room (and the only room with a TV) processing his emotions via the Playstation 5 (Elden Ring, if you’re interested).
Life is fairly flexible at this point in my life. My responsibilities include keeping my job, not being a dick to my friends, not being a dick to my partner, and visiting my family now and then. And sometimes I vacuum.
Writing should be easy to fit in, right? That thing I love to do, that thing I am working towards, my dream thing or whatever. But it falls of my list as easily as my stupid hair pins dissapear into some miserable abyss.
Of course I won’t over-analyse it. I won’t. But I think it has something to do with having big feelings and an adult brain like that likes to really over-egg the pudding. I am a worrier and a perfectionist, so if I think my writing is rubbish then I don’t want to write anymore.
Except, of course it’s rubbish! It’s supposed to be rubbish! I’m at the beginning, I’m learning as I go! I cannot think so highly of myself to assume I will begin writing and five minutes later be a Markus Zusack or a Sarah Winman or a Madeleine Thein or a Harper Lee! And I’m not yelling at you, dear reader, I’m yelling at myself!
So I had a word with myself during a five hour drive back from Wales a few weeks ago. Why do you need to sleep in until 7.30am? Instead, wake up at 7 and write for an hour. You work from home, for pete’s sake! (Who is Pete?)
It was also helpful to speak with friends who are in a similar boat, or who once were in that boat and eventually made it to shore. My pal Laura calls it draft zero, the very first brain dump on the page that allows you to begin making the story better. A metaphor for life, perhaps? We've all got to start somwhere.
So anyway, here I am, putting words on the page. Even if the words are rubbish, I write them anyway and tell myself I’ll fix it all later. Because I will. Because I am committed to a story that has been brewing in my head for over a year now. There are mediocre, half-baked characters that depend on me.