It’s that time of year again! The end of one and the beginning of another year always brings thoughts of change: Losing weight, giving up some evil habit, getting fit often featuring high on people’s lists.
After years spent studying and working in the academic world, September probably has more a sense of new beginnings for me, evoked beautifully in the C Day Lewis poem Walking Away ‘A sunny day with leaves just turning/The touch line new-ruled … ‘.
It’s often hard to feel positive at this time of year when all one’s inclinations are to hibernate, eat more, do less. January can be a dreary time with dark evenings and the worst of the weather still to come. The slate isn’t wiped clean. All the things you didn’t manage to do last year, you probably won’t do next year either; all the good intentions will probably have evaporated by the middle of February.
But … but as the year turns, a sense of hope feels inevitable.And my hopes for 2014 involve the word MORE.
In 2014, I grew totally frustrated with myself when my novel stalled half way through. For about three months I didn’t write a thing. Yes, I tore ligaments in my foot; yes, I was away a lot; yes, I struggled when some of my family moved away. But none of that is an excuse. I’ve chosen carpe diem (seize the day – thought to be from the Latin poet Horace in 23 BC) to illustrate my determination to write more because I’m determined not to let my novel languish again. I’d hoped to have finished a first draft by Christmas, but I’ve only reached 47,000 words. There is nothing to stop me averaging 5000 words a week until the first draft is completed. Get on with it, Lindsay – write more!
I have a walk of nearly two miles round the river which I really enjoy. I feel happier, fitter, more energised when I do it regularly. So, why have I let it lapse in the second half of 2013? I can cite all the reasons above that I gave for not writing, but – apart from the torn ligaments – they are, again, not excuses. As my old headmistress used to say That might be a reason, but it’s not an excuse. Perhaps there’s also a connection between the lack of writing and the lack of walking. Walking definitely helps writing. Walking seems to be a natural aid to allowing access to the subconscious. The writer needs to step out of the conscious world into the subconscious – often difficult and painful to do. The mind resists, but freeing up the body seems to give permission to the mind. If I walk more. I’ll write more. Do it!
It’s so easy in the middle of everyday pressures and anxieties to forget to – or get out of the habit of – enjoying things, big and small. People, activities, things can be taken for granted. I’m going to say to myself ‘Oh yeah!‘ more in 2014 as a reminder to appreciate the people around me, my environment, my opportunities. Oh yeah!!
Thank you to everyone who’s read my blog in 2013, and especially thank you to those people who have commented from time to time. I know commenting is not everyone’s thing, so please carry on reading even if you don’t want to say anything, but it’s nice when someone appreciates something I’ve written. I hope you’ll all continue to share my writing journey, and I hope 2014 will be a happy, healthy and successful year for all of you. A ‘moreish’ year, in fact!