Resistance

I appreciate it’s not a new topic in relation to writing, but I’ve recently started a meditation series on Acceptance (via the Headspace app), which, rather than pushing you towards accepting a situation, reflects on how you are resisting certain changes, relationships etc.

On a personal level this has helped tremendously. My grandmother died very suddenly a month ago. She was such a wonderfully kind, loving woman, and such a big part of our lives for many years, not to mention one of the most active, lively octogenarians around, that her death was (and still is) an intense shock. Realising how much denial I’m in, how much I’m resisting the idea of losing her, is starting to lift that shock a little and help me begin to grieve.

I’ve realised how much I’m resisting other, more subtle parts of my life. The children are growing up, my youngest properly starting to grow out of the toddler phase. I never thought I’d be sad to have him sleep through the night (still not a guaranteed event), but as it turns out, I miss cuddling up to the little foot gouging at my ribs, and I’m not sleeping as well as a result. My eldest recently turned five, and (always the headstrong-teenager, even as a baby), is enjoying asserting herself and pushing all the boundaries with her new-found little girl understanding. All this will change, or I will change with it, but I’d forgotten that, as with all things child-related, the change will be smoother and faster if I work with it, rather than fighting every step.

There’s resistance with work: Finally deciding to give up teaching, only to be pulled back in with a contract that fits too neatly around my other commitments to say no (plus we need the money!). Feeling sucked back in to something that drains me to the detriment of my health and my family is scary, as is knowing I’ll have to re-evaluate again once this job comes to an end. I hate it, and I hate feeling like I have no choice (I know I do, but realistically, I don’t).

Finally, there’s resistance with my writing. The impact of everything else going on in life, plus a self-consciousness as I go through my Masters degree that have made the words stick. Pulling them out a sentence at a time for a workshop a few weeks back was like walking through tar. I need to scrap most of those, so am conscious I still need to get 10k good words together for the deadline in a month and a half. And I know most of what I have is rubbish, but I don’t know what to do to improve it.

But I know this. So I’m hoping that by letting myself relax, by letting the story come in its own time, I’ll get there. I’ve had a couple of bursts over the last week. Only minor ones, a paragraph or two, but shifting the work in ways I’m happier with. So fingers crossed I’ll have a few more of these (hopefully longer ones!), and I’ll be able to get there.

If not, the beginning of May is going to be a long week of pulling teeth words!

 

 

 

 

Levelling Up

Life feels like it’s whizzing past so frantically these last few months that I’ve gone into survival mode and stopped even thinking about how long it is since I’ve done all the things I promised myself I’d do regularly (like updating this blog!). But there are a few things I’ve been meaning to come on and talk about to do with my writing.

Even though my productivity has gone down (illness, work, life all taking over), a few exciting things have been happening that make me feel like I’m levelling up as a writer.

The first boost I got recently was my first personalised rejection. And this made me ridiculously happy. Being a now loyal listener of Mur Lafferty‘s ISBW podcast I’ve been trying to embrace the rejections as they come (they’ve not been prolific because my first submission sat for about 8 months at one of the big publishers and I’ve been slow getting more pieces up to a standard I’m happy to send out.). But a few days ago I got a rejection that was not only personalised, but positively glowing (at least I’m taking it as that!) about the piece. This came at a much needed time as I was pushing through exhaustion from work, kids etc and starting to wonder if I should keep beating myself with this whole writing malarkey. Clearly, yes, because a few days later…

I got accepted onto a Masters course in Creative Writing!!

This is a biggie for me, because I’d already handed in my notice (teaching jobs come with ridiculous notice periods so I had to take a punt!). Although the course isn’t a heavy time commitment (2hrs on a Weds morning, which after a Science based, lab filled undergrad degree seems nothing! I know there’s more to it than that, with reading etc. but still…), just having an day a week to focus on writing feels like a luxury. I decided on the part-time course because I’m doing this for me and my craft; I don’t need to rush through for a qualification, I can afford to spend time really honing my skills. It wouldn’t be possible without the new postgraduate loan scheme, and I’ll have to pick up cash to cover the bills with supply teaching, but with my eldest starting school (eeek!), and my youngest 3 in May, we’re looking at saving multiples of thousands of pounds in nursery fees, which takes some of the pressure off, whilst also making me acutely aware of how unsustainable spending every holiday marking, planning and report writing is if I want to actually be there for my kids as they grow up!

So I’m allowing myself a few weeks to recover, get the house in a less chaotic state of papers, outgrown baby things and grime, then from September I’ll be ready to pick the pace up again and get stuck in to my course.