Today I felt like journaling. It had been a few months since my last journal entry because I hadn’t had much to say. But today I felt like writing again so, for a change, I decided to type my thoughts straight into a Word document. This is different to how I last journaled, when I wrote my thoughts by hand into a trusty black Moleskine. The journal before that was typed, and the one before that was handwritten. I seem to alternate: when I get sick of writing one way, I switch to the other. A couple of years’ ago I tried Dragon Dictate hoping that talking to my journal would help me stick with it. It did, for a while, but the novelty eventually wore off. At least I have 30 pages of early morning ramblings that I didn’t have to transcribe myself.
For me, the novelty wears off everything over time, and it becomes a chore and then a burden. I love shiny new ideas. When I start them, I hope that they’ll never dull and my enthusiasm will never wane. But it inevitably does, every time. Even for writing.
Every year around this time, I feel sluggish. Winter has started to drag—and before you say it, I know I have no reason to begrudge our short Western Australian winters. The kids are tired and sick of school and study. We’re all ready for the year to wind down, but we can’t yet call it quits because the year’s only slightly more than half over—holidays and summer are still months away.
I’ve been berating myself for not writing. It’s been a couple of months since I finished my edits, and I was hoping to blog regularly again and post articles in preparation for the launch of my book. I’d also wanted to return to Novel #2.
But I’ve done none of that. I’ve watched other writers with their bums firmly on their seats, ploughing through their novels and edits and meeting their goals, while I’ve been a flabby layabout. I’ve tried to write. I’ve sat at my computer or pulled out my notebook, but nothing has come, or nothing that I liked.
But today’s journaling has tricked me back into writing. I wrote whatever came into my head, and here it is: my first blog post for a while. It’s worked!
The other thing I felt like doing this week was taking photos. I’ve hardly taken my camera anywhere this year, but this week I took it with me on my walks. I’ve also subscribed to the photo-editing software, Lightroom. Earlier in the year, I was having problems with my computer because my old photo-editing software couldn’t cope with the number and size of my images. I took my time deciding to make the switch to Lightroom, knowing there would be a learning curve, but now I wish I’d done it sooner. I’m having a great time playing! Oh, Lightroom, how much joy you’re giving me, and I’m sure it’s not just because you’re a shiny new thing.
Yesterday while I was out taking photos, an idea for Novel #2 came. It was one of those ideas that come from nowhere and when you least expect it. More of a realisation than an idea, a connection between two things I’d already written but hadn’t realised were linked. One of those occasions when my all-knowing subconscious does the work for me.
It’s funny that it came to me while out taking photos and not thinking of my novel at all, and it’s made me itch to get back to writing that novel again.
All of this has made me realise that we need these downtimes, these times away from writing, times doing things to replenish our empty cups, as Kirsty wrote in her essay on Monday. Because we’re not bottomless wells of creativity and we do need refilling.
So, I’ll continue lollygagging with my camera as it seems to be aiding and abetting my writing, and while I hope to be blogging more often, I won’t make any promises! My fingers are crossed though.
If you missed my Facebook post during the week, you mightn’t have heard the news that Allen and Unwin are preparing the ‘reading copies’ of my novel. These are used for publicity, and it means that copies of my book will soon be going out to early readers. I’m not feeling anxious, just excited, and I can’t wait to hold my real life book in my real life hands!
I’ll be writing all my book news in my newsletter, so please sign up if you’d like to be the first to know when these little babies are hot off the press.