Oh, the highs and lows of life!
After the high of submitting my dissertation and clearing my desk and study of any and every trace of academic material, the last two weeks have seen me sinking into a bit of a low. It’s not what I had anticipated. With two weeks off from the day job, I had imagined myself having a few days break before enthusiastically locking myself in the study and cracking on with editing and reviewing my work in progress. The reality was something quite different.
That first week, I spent a lovely but busy three days in my favourite city in the world, Edinburgh, with my daughter Abbie. The following week was spent alone, the children were away with their dad, and David was away in Northern Ireland. The weather was lovely, I was working on my novel and life was good.
But it never lasts, does it? I returned once more to the demanding day job, and inspiration and enthusiasm was dampened by a whole host of worries; family stuff, parent stuff, children stuff and, of course, the usual worries never far from the surface – those of just not being a good enough writer, of not being able to market and promote both myself and my work well enough. Added to this, the characters from not one but two previously written, but completely unedited, works bustled into my head and demanded that I bring their story to life. I felt like a rabbit caught in headlights, paralysed into inactivity.
Today started out with a continuation of that theme. It would have been so easy to continue to sit watching the Olympics (haven’t they been exciting, though?) instead of knuckling down and getting on with writing and editing. But David decided that we should get out of the house, go for a walk. Excellent – another excuse not to go into the study. We spent half an hour deciding where we should go before finally agreeing on the Westwood, just a couple of miles from home.
Oh, and I am so thankful we did. It was a beautiful sunny, blustery day and the Westwood was full of families, dog walkers and lone walkers, all of whom were enjoying the beauty of their surroundings. And it is beautiful. I had forgotten, as we so often do about places on our doorstep, just how beautiful and wild it is. As we walked across the huge, open expanse of the Westwood pastures, with the sun beating down but kept within manageable temperatures by the strong, warm winds, I felt my worries being blown away on the wind and my mood lifting. The Westwood is a wonderful open space on the edge of the market town of Beverley we call home, with cattle roaming freely and the Westwood itself a mix of wide open grassland and wooded areas, full of hidden glades and overgrown copses.
Leaving behind the cows, the dog walkers and families flying kites, David and I hopped over the worn stile and into the woods, where the heavy trees and undergrowth immediately dampened down any sounds from outside the woods. It was peaceful and serene and just what I needed to regroup my thoughts and put everything into perspective. Worrying doesn’t achieve anything, except to stifle my inspiration and bring me down. Today, I was able to push that aside and remember everything that is good and positive in my life. And I have so much to be thankful for.
So, with energy renewed and enthusiasm, I gently told those impatient characters in my head that they will just have to wait their turn. Their stories will be told; just not yet. Right now, it is Chloe and Luke’s story that I’m working on and I’m looking forward to hopefully sharing it with you sometime soon.