Today I woke early, with an unaccustomed feeling of lightness. Although the sky is cloudy, and the low clouds are hugging the mountains and masking the upper parts of the slope, the sky is brighter than it has been for some time. I slept well and deeply, and woke with a rare feeling of alertness. Whether this was just a result of a good night’s sleep or some other confluence of factors contributing to this awakening I cannot determine, but I am pleased to be I such a clear state of mind. As my partner was still deeply asleep beside me, I collected my notebooks and pens, and a cup of tea, opened the curtains opposite the bedroom and returned to bed. to look out on a slice of the valley side and collect my thoughts. Today I wrote a to do list which spans two A4 pages, and has multiple sections. The section for ‘work’ is much as I expected – a combination of teaching and teaching prep, student support, admin, and writing. It signifies a nice busy time at work but plenty of scope for creativity, as I am working on a collaborative, memoir-type writing project with some colleagues as well as developing a new course. Then there is the freelance writing I do for money, which is about writing copy to order. I have scaled this back in recent weeks due to a need to reduce my stress levels and focus more on my own writing. There is my Open University teaching, which doesn’t take too much time. I have some marking to finish which is quite tedious but I can get it done today. Then there is my academic writing – I am currently writing an article on Blended Learning which I hope to finish by Tuesday, and an article on Cognitive Mapping which I intend to do next week.
And then there is my other writing. It is good to look the demon in the face, and face her down with a clear mind.
First, I need to finish rewriting the PhD novel as there IS a publisher interested in this. I need to prioritise this. I don’t feel it will take much longer but I think I am stuck in a bog of procrastination which is most probably related to fear of success. I need to devote the next couple of weeks’ “spare” time to this. I know that once I get into the mind set of rewriting it will be fine. Then there is the need to rewrite my supernatural novel, written a long time ago for the MA in Creative Writing. This is a longer-term goal and I can place this as a lower priority. I also have a screenplay treatment I need to write, as I have an outline that’s been sitting there for three years, and a novella to type up and edit. It is this novella that I am considering for self-publication. I have an outline and a few chapters of a contemporary ‘romance’ type novel drafted in longhand, which I would like to type up while I remember, for completion some time in the future. And it is my goal to start writing short stories and sending them out to competitions and magazines, to build my writing presence. And I have had an idea for a speculative fiction/feminist fiction novel kicking around for a while which I would like to start exploring. Just looking at the list (which also includes updating this blog) makes me want to hole myself up in my study and write until I drop.
Unfortunately, my to do list also includes a category entitled ‘home’ and another entitled ‘personal’. These involve things such as cleaning, helping my son with his homework, washing, ironing, paying bills, chasing financial and legal issues, and general personal admin. This is longer than any of the others.
This leads me to the conclusion that it’s a miracle if I write anything a all, and I should stop berating myself for not having achieved more in recent months. Virginia Woolf said a woman needs a room of her own. I need a personal secretary and housekeeper, and a time turner like Hermione Grainger in the Harry Potter books, so I can redo several hours each day and fit everything in.
I should feel stressed, but I don’t. I feel inspired. I am ready for the challenge. And the satisfaction of ticking of tasks as I go along. And here is one task less to finish!
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