Friday, 31 October 2014

Exercising the Writing Muscle

I’m not a big fan of exercise but sometimes I force myself to do it out of sheer necessity.  Mostly I try to find excuses or rather find other things to do as a means to avoid it.  To my shame, I feel as though I have been doing the same thing with my writing recently.  Is it sheer madness that the very thing I say I love to do, I find 101 excuses not to?

I’ve just been away for a week in the sun and lovely it was too.  As a family, we don’t tend to do highbrow or exotic holidays.  My husband is busiest at work during the summer so whilst everyone else is jetting off to luxurious destinations, I’m usually pet sitting and wondering how to juggle work with entertaining the boys during the long summer break.

So by October half term we are more than ready to get away.  Destinations are fairly limited; we don’t want to travel too far as we only have a week but we do want it to be hot. We usually plump for one of the Canary Islands as the weather there is pretty much guaranteed.

My husband loves the sun.  He rarely sits down at home but give him sunshine and he does a pretty good impression of being comatose.  The boys of course need to be occupied so instead of going exclusive we go cattle market (sorry, slip of the tongue there, I meant to say all-inclusive).

Now, all-inclusive I think, is a bit of a mixed blessing, especially at half-term.  It’s crowded, noisy and there’s usually a fight for the sunbeds each morning – more of that another time.  But the facilities are great for the boys. They have plenty to do, make lots of new friends in a relatively safe environment, eat what they want when they want, and only sulk when we insist on taking them for a walk.

So that’s the other half and the kids taken care of which leaves me plenty of time to read and write.  It’s the closest I get to a writing retreat without abandoning everyone (oh what bliss that would be!)

And yet at the beginning of the holiday I struggled to think of anything to write.  Life has been so hectic that I haven’t had the time or the headspace recently.  But before I came away I emailed some of my ideas files and half written stories to my kindle and I forced myself to write.  Just a little, but I set myself a goal of 500 words a day.  Not a great deal, I know, but it was achievable and as soon as I got into the habit, the writing and ideas started to flow.  As well as finishing some stories which had been languishing in a folder on my computer for too long, I made a list of projects to complete post-holiday, read some writing reference books and even toyed with an idea for a new novel. 

Now I have something to aim for and I just need to keep up the momentum now that I’m back (even if I am drowning under washing and ironing).

So I’ve learnt that writing is like exercise, the more you do it the easier it gets.  I wonder if I’ll be fit by Christmas? 


  1. Welcome back! I've decided to take the NaNoWriMo challenge this year - 50,000 words in 30 days starting tomorrow (eek!). I've done it before and found the main benefit is that it does get you into the habit of sitting down and writing something - anything! - every day.

    1. Just noticed you did NaNo in 2012 so you know all about it :)

  2. Glad you had a good break and managed to fit in some writing :-) x

  3. Good luck Linda with NaNoWriMo. I love doing it - I've done it two or three times now. It really is a good way to get into the habit of writing every day - the fear of not reaching the end forces you to write. Try to keep up the daily target from the beginning and you'll whizz through it. i'm going to aim to clear up some unfinished projects over the next 12 months so I'll have the time to give it another go this time next year. Have fun!

    Hi Teresa - yes the good things about holidays is that they give you the head space to get things in perspective. Now the only challenge is to keep them there!

  4. That sound a very productive holiday after all, Linda. I never write while I am on holiday but I come back refreshed and raring to go.