I’m hoping to go to back to Cornwall in the next month. Obviously, this is dependent on Covid rules; I won’t go if it’s not safe and legal.
Since the first lockdown, my trip has been postponed several times, and though it was sad, it has given me something to look forward to. Hope is a strange thing. I’m praying it works out this time.
For this week’s blog post, I decided to sit down, write whatever came to mind, and edit it, all within half an hour! So, here we go…
I’m sitting cross-legged on my bed, with my friend Debz working beside me on video chat (muted) and Heart Radio blasting ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman. This is brave, this is bruised, this is who I’m meant to be: this is me.
I have written first drafts of a few blogs posts but am feeling a bit ‘meh’ about all of them. They’re stilted and incomplete and flawed in at least one way. Self-consciousness has crept in. The whole ‘dance like no one’s watching’ thing has a lot going for it!
It reminds me of when I was a child. I didn’t used to be aware of my reflection when passing mirrors or reflective surfaces, which was probably obvious to anyone who saw the scruffy young girl in her brother’s hand-me-downs, with rattail hair and often a vacant expression! And then teenage-hood hit and I felt hyper-conscious…and inadequate. Adulthood has been easier, but I would love to go back to the complete lack of awareness of how I might appear to others. It seems a happier, simpler place.
I had a dream a few weeks ago that stuck with me.
Dream Hannah discovered she could retake her A Levels now, at the age of twenty-seven. The exams were to take place in two days: she only had the weekend to revise. That would be enough. Being much older and wiser(!), surely she could achieve higher grades than her underwhelming CDD ten years ago?
She revised all day and all night. Finally, Mum came into her room and asked what she was doing.
After Dream Hannah explained it to her, Mum said, ‘Hannah, you have a First in your bachelor’s degree and a Distinction in your master’s. Why are you doing this?’
‘Oh.’ Dream Hannah thought for a moment. ‘Yeah, that’s true. Why am I doing this?’
‘Put feeling into your writing…but have fewer feelings about your writing.’
I wander into the kitchen after a particularly uninspired, uninspiring writing session, and mull over this thought as I make another coffee.
With one story in particular, I sometimes think, ‘Yay, this is great!’ and other times, ‘Boo, this is rubbish!’, even though it’s the same piece and no better or worse than previously. I’m sure every writer has experienced something similar.
How we feel about our creative work might bear little resemblance to reality, and these value judgements can make it hard to get anything done. They drive you crazy, those relentless inner critics with weird squeaky voices (that’s how I imagine them, anyway), making endless contradictory judgements.
I love being self-employed and organising my own schedule, but early in January I had decision fatigue. I struggled to decide when to read, write, edit, do housework, do admin etc. I often ended up in ‘freeze mode’. On a particularly bad afternoon, when I was tempted to procrastinate for the rest of the day, I said, ‘Mum, please tell me what to do – jobs you want done, or things on my list here. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.’
I loved it; as did she, naturally! It would lose its appeal very quickly, no doubt – for me anyway – but it was a useful exercise that triggered some realisations.