When the clocks go back I start to feel a bit desperate. Not in a horrible way, I hasten to add. It’s just that whenever I spot the remotest glint of sunlight I have to get out there and soak it up because I know it’s in increasingly short supply.
I am thinking metaphorically as well (Sorry. I can’t seem to help it). There's all sorts of evidence of growing darkness out there in the world. Politics get grimmer and grimmer, the news is a catalogue of disasters and the planet itself is in a terrible state due to human stupidity. It is all too easy to be dragged into the gloom. That’s why it’s so important to appreciate any patches of brightness we can find.
I have to say, my own life is really rather sunshiney at the moment. At last I have ample harp gigs both as a soloist and with Foxwillow Trio, and I love my instrument more than ever. It is a huge joy to play music; even more so when you can also bring joy to other people. Writing-wise things are happening beyond my wildest dreams, too. The publishing teams behind my book are fabulous. I have recently been emailed specimen book covers from both the UK and US, which is oh-so-exciting. I am even, at times, beginning to believe I really am a writer.
Yet darkness has a way of creeping in. I’ve observed a common pattern in the psychology of writers. It goes something like this:
I can do this! I’m a genius!
It’s not as easy as I thought.
I’m tired. It’s taking ages.
I never realised how difficult it is to get published. There’s so much competition.
There’s THAT much competition? Why don’t I just give up now?
Published writers seem to get even more stressy:
Yay! I did it! I beat the odds.
But it was ridiculously hard. Nobody understands how hard it was. And now I have to do it all again.
I’m not sure I can do it again. It was a fluke. But now everyone’s expecting it. I need to work even harder than the first time.
I’m actually being paid to write. Me? It can’t be right. I feel like I'm drowning and everything I write is bad, bad, bad.
I actually can’t keep this up. HELP!
I’m determined not to let it go on like this. Agonising isn’t healthy and isn’t constructive.
Novel one was (mostly) a joy. Novel two is very different. It’s putting pressure on me because I now have a contract, a deadline and I know that people - people in the book industry, no less - will have expectations. But every time the darkness of fear starts to encroach I’m stubbornly ignoring it. There’s still so much happiness in the writing process and I’m focussing on that. What’s the point in doing it otherwise?
Light (and delight) is everywhere if you look for it. There have been some amazing stars over Exmoor these last few nights. It’s a thrill to step outside and gaze up at them. And a real pleasure to come back indoors to the warm, flickering firelight. Some days – both metaphorically and physically – I can even catch a few rays of sunlight.
I've just popped outside to try and get a photo for this blog and found this. I think it will do!