I’ve had some of the best days of my life in the last few months.
Although there are times when I feel selfish and self-indulgent, I try to remember that I lived in a state of auto-pilot for so long, doing without thinking, that I need (deserve?) this time to do it the other way round.
There are times I feel indecisive and confused and as if I’m wasting my time and not being productive and then I zip back round full circle and get back to being absolutely in love with what I’m doing and why..
I came here because I love sunshine and the sea and I love the Portuguese language, people and food (not in order of preference).
I came here because I believed it would suit me and it does; it feels like home.
I came here so I could empty my head of everything but the stories in it, and focus on writing a book, which I’ve always wanted to do.
I’m not doing very well with that. Or at least I don’t feel I am.
One of the worst questions people can ask me is ‘How are you getting on with the book?’
I can’t quite hang on to my mojo.
I only need the slightest distraction or niggly thought and all creativity and inspiration vanishes.
I had a moment on Monday, while lying on the beach after a snorkel, when pages and lines and wonderful stuff appeared in my head and I couldn’t wait to get it all typed so I drove home being ridiculously excited, planning to sit at my desk and bash them out onto my laptop.. then someone asked me a question and away it all went. Whoosh.
What’s the answer?
I can’t stick a post-it on my head saying ‘Not now!’ – there are times when people need to speak to me, and they can’t be expected to know whether I’m in another universe and they’re going to drag me back down to earth and bury me under a pile of boulders for a month by asking me a very simple question.
Do I need to completely isolate myself and have absolutely nothing else to do but eat sleep and write in order to focus on this [insert swearwords of choice] book?!
Yesterday I spent some time looking for helpful tips; I found an abundance of webpages with useful advice on them – one suggested setting a goal of 300 words a day, so I checked my book’s word count and was excited to see that I’ve written 11,939 words.
Sounds like a lot, huh?
Well, it’s not.
Divide it and it breaks down to approx 40 days (of writing 300 words a day, which I probably never have).
Ok so I’ve probably written at least twice that and rewritten, edited, deleted, rewritten, edited again, revised.. but still, let’s say 80 days of productive writing..
I’ve been here almost a year! Shouldn’t I have finished it by now?!
I can’t write when I’m not feeling it.
So how do I get into the zone?
And what on earth have I been doing with my time?!
Apart from horses and dogs and cleaning and cooking, which only amounts to between 20 and 30 hours of my week, I sleep quite a lot.
I daydream a whole lot.
I read a fair amount and I surf, snorkel, swim, drive about admiring this wonderful place.. all of which are the right things for my writing brain. So I’m doing something right.
But then I stress.
I stress so much.
I worry and I try to make decisions and I get all in a spin about all sorts of silly little things and I try to make plans and be organised while trying to be flexible and ‘live in the moment’ and ‘go with the flow’ and when I get all whizzy about silly little things, I berate myself and start frowning and chewing my cheek and I send ranty long emails to my friends about how much I struggle with deciding how/when/whether/how long to pop back to Jersey for, and boys (they’re confusing aren’t they) and living in a house with other people (something I swore I’d never do again) and (I haven’t written a post on this blog for months so this is gonna be a great big long gusty one) I dwell on stuff.
Oh my, I am so so good at dwelling on stuff. And changing my mind about how to deal with it.
And then dwelling on how much I change my mind.
I feel like I need routine, but deep down I actually hate routine.. I need balance, I know, but I’m so fickle and changeable and prone to ear infections that I wobble about and lose it and walk into things all the time.
Sometimes I miss my favourite people, sometimes I feel like I should be there to give them a hug or cheer them up, sometimes I wish they were here, but if they were.. honestly?
I’d probably see or speak to them less than I do now; as much as they’re my favourite people and I’m trying to keep in touch because I love them, I really need this space and solitary time and I’m doing what I need to do.
Mikey sent me a photo of her baby, Eva, who’s just turned one.
Aimee sent me a photo of my son on his 21st birthday, looking handsome and happy and gorgeous.
My mum sends me photos of shoes and dog’s feet and flowers and all sorts of weird things cos she’s a bit mental, but most importantly she sends me photos of my niece, who’s growing up without me there to be a bad influence – how am I going to get my own back on my brother for all the naughty things he taught Sam if I’m not there.
My friend Nicki started a pie business and I haven’t been able to go along to one of her market stalls and sniff her pies.
But I am having some of the best days of my life.
That’s what I remember when I get sad or confused about anything.
I’ve made new friends, who are way more fun than all the old Jersey ones (kidding, obviously) and I live with The Wonderfully Funny Family, most of whom appear to like me, most of the time (either that or they’re good at pretending), and when they don’t I can totally understand. And sympathise. As would my real family. And most of my friends.
Hands up anyone who’s ever spent more than 24hrs in my company and not felt like beating me over the head with a cast iron skillet*.
I can imagine everyone nodding while sitting on their hands right now.
Even Bom couldn’t honestly wave a paw in the air.
So, sometimes I struggle with my world, no matter how wonderful it is.
And when I’m struggling, there are two things to remember that can make all the difference to my day.
Maybe they can make a difference to somebody else’s day somewhere too.