Recently, there was a brief moment when it appeared my mortal span might be somewhat shorter than expected. As you might anticipate, it tended to concentrate the mind wonderfully. Now it turned out to be a ‘false alarm with good intent’ as the RNLI put it – and I shall no doubt trouble this world for a good long while yet – but it did make me think.
Speculation is an author’s business: we love to think what if?
So what changes would I make?
You may have read The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – which seemed like a good place to start. Being true to myself holds good, but not working so hard? I think if anything I want to give more to my writing now. Expressing feelings – I am exploring them through my work. It’s hard to express something you’ve only got a vague idea of. The last two – keeping in touch with friends and allowing myself to be happy – these seem less related to my writing – and yet… Certainly my SCBWI pals are a wonderful help in every direction, and enjoying my writing on its own terms is crucial.
So not much change there, then.
The one that got me, the big scary thing was TIME.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near
(Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress)
How to deal with that paralysing sense of urgency? Motivation.
I was unable to attend Bekki Hill’s Motivation Masterclass – but I was grateful to read Liz de Jager’s post about it, and also Julie Day’s account. The questions that Bekki asked are challenging – but essential.
I want to fail better. I yearn to create something big, even if flawed. I need to stop dabbling about in the shallows, stop staring at the tiny details out of fear. If I only look for nudibranchs, I’ll never lift my head up. I won’t hear the dolphin chittering at the tiger shark and then chase it off.
Whatever my circumstances, I want to make the best of them. Can’t sleep? Read – and create a commentary on the strengths in the work, and how they inform my writing. In a waiting room? Observe , listen, make sense of what occurs. How could I adapt and use that? Look for the insight in every moment.
This final point may sound bleak, yet it is oddly liberating:
finally, I’m on my own
It’s my responsibility to nurture myself. I am very appreciative of every kind and supportive remark I’ve had. I’m so glad of all the help I’ve been given. But it’s down to me to find the time and space for this writer to grow – no one else.
What do you think?