Tips for a writing retreat at home.

I may not have the luxury of being able to escape to Bali on a writers retreat, but that didn’t stop me from creating my own.

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How do you know you’re really a writer?

I have seen a couple of posts on Instagram asking ‘How you really know if you are a writer?’

A writer is one of the professions that is plagued with self doubt and insecurity, is what i’m writing any good, what if no one likes my story etc.

One of the things I notice is that when the writing is flowing freeley I think, yes I’ve got this!  This is brilliant, of course I’m a writer.  But when I am stuck, can’t seem to string two words together or cutting bits out, re-writing entire chapters, self doubt creeps in and I begin to think, maybe I am not a writer, maybe I should stick to my day job and just forget all about this story I’ve been working on.

But then while I was in the shower, I was daydreaming about winning the lottery.  I had bought a ticket the day before, although while I am writing this I have still not checked it.  The jackpot was up to £107 million!  That is a lot of money, you could do or buy anything you have ever dreamed of.

I love playing that game with the kids, if we won the lottery what would you do/buy? Everything from a super yacht to a dreamhouse, I love all the things the kids say, including a remote controlled car for about £40.00, my 8 year old has simple tastes.

So in the shower I am thinking, I must check the ticket, I could be sitting on £107 million.  Then a thought struck me, I would be quite happy to give up the day job and hire someone else to do it for me.  But then what would I do with my time.  After a nice sunny holiday, I realied that I would definetly want to finish my book.

Oh my! I would still love to carry on and finish the story I have been working so hard on.

So with all the money and time at my disposal I would choose to continue to write.  What an epiphany,  I am a writer!

Everytime I had spoken to someone about writing a novel I had always felt a bit uncomfortable to call myself a writer.   I have not finished my novel to even get it published yet and also I had not really been doing this for many years like I know some people have.  I almost felt like an imposter.

I had not realised through the last few months of spending more time writing that it had actually gotten under my skin as much as it had.  I now find myself looking forward to getting stuck into it and the thought of one day finishing my novel and holding it in my hand makes me feel like winning the lottery.

So to answer the question, ‘How do you know you are a writer?’ For me it is when you can choose to do anything else in the world and yet you still want to write.

They say that inside every person is a story.  I feel like this is true for me and I can’t wait to get it finished and to see if there are people out there who will love it as much as I do.

If in the meantime I have the winning lottery numbers, at least writing is something that I would be able to do,  even from the swankiest of super yachts in the middle of the Carribean sea.

person showing both feet wearing brown sandals
Photo by Anne Agrubio on Pexels.com

Summer Holiday

Well we are all officially on school holidays, woo hoo!

Although that means having the three boys away with me, I do seem to be able to get more writing done.  Being away from the daily routine helps bring out the more creative aspects of my brain.  At home I get so caught up in work, which mostly involves data and numbers, being organised and analitical.  When I begin to relax and write I can really escape.  Without this I feel like I get a bit bored. in my own head.

Our holidays are often spent in Exmoor, one of my all time favorite places. With the three boys, three dogs and my husband when he can get away from work.  The days are spent with long dog walks on the moor, the dogs super excited and dashing around like puppies, the boys can be moaning about walking, but will keep going until the end, usually.  Or if the weather is kind to us, we will decamp onto one of the many beaches, either sandy or pebbly we don’t mind.

After a day spent in the fresh air with plenty of exercise, the boys will relax with a film in front of the TV and I can let myself get lost in my writing, safe knowing the normal interruptions with be less, than if we were at home.  If that should sometimes include some fish and chips or even the odd ice cream, just to help the creative juices get flowing, then they are indeed happy days.

I just hope that the weather will be kind and that I can carry on our little holiday routine and gets lots more of my novel written.  I’am currently 31,000 words into the story.  I had to go back and re-write a couple of chapters as the story line did not seem to flow where I wanted it to go.  But I have made some real progress with it.

In my summer holiday plan, I have also written a child’s story about a bat,  which I will be editing.  I’am hoping to finish the final edit by the end of the holidays so it can ready to be sent to publishers come the beginning of September.  I just hope that someone will love the story as much as my children and I do.

I hope you all are having as much fun during your summer as we are.

E-A Jones

 

July Writing Exercise

Code nine was in his opinion the worst of them all.  He straightened up and steeled himself to go downstairs and face what was waiting.

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Not just writing after all.

person on a bridge near a lake
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

I spend most of my days working at home, in a small country village and can go all day without speaking to or seeing another person, until the kids and husband come home. Also I am mostly an introvert at heart, preferring to let my words speak more clearly on paper than my mouth ever could.

Luckily I am one of those people who are mostly happy with my own company.  I do make sure that I drop and pick up the kids from school at least once a week just so I connect to the people there.  Also so I don’t go completely crazy and starting talking to the teapot, I try to take my laptop into the local coffee shop and sit and people watch as much as I can.

One of the ways to counteract this is I have recently joined a group for writers, a newly started group to get together and share their experience and also share work or ideas. We have only met once so far but I found it helpful to know that I am on the right track with the writing process.  I have a story idea and have worked out roughly what will happen in each chapter, managing to get as far as chapter 9.  A total of 24,567 words so far.

The only problem was that we are expected as writers, to actually read out loud our writing.  I have told the group that I will need to work on this – I don’t want to spontaneously combust and I fear I might when reading out to a group (or anyone actually).  We have been tasked to, ‘find or write a piece to read out to the group something that inspires us’.

I as yet have nothing.  It’s like my brain freezes with panic at the thought of having to read it out loud.  So when the kids are back at school on Monday I am going to arm myself with my notebook and laptop, sip a huge black coffee and hope the creative juices start to flow with something inspiring, that will not make me explode.

So for the mean time I will be practising speaking in front of the mirror until the time comes when I have to share with the group.  Putting aside my introvert side to embrace sharing my work with others and the being able to offer advice and give criticism  This I feel is the worst part that any author will fear the most, that fact that once you say the words out loud, they are then unleashed in to the world.

I am really pleased to be part of this group, so that I can work through these issues with other like-minded people in a small group.  Who knows, one day I could be reading out an excerpt of my own book, at my own book launch to a room filled with people – it’s good to aim high!

 

 

Travel heals the body, as well as the soul.

After my hysterectomy at the beginning of April I had been recovering really well and feeling better than I have in many, many years.  As a family we had been looking forward to going to Exmoor for the long weekend of Easter, but fate was not so kind.

I ended up back in hospital after one of the stitches inside me had an infection, this caused it to give way and for me to start hemorrhaging blood.  My husband took me straight to A and E. I was there for a short time before being taken to Gynaecology. Unfortunately it took a few hours before being seen and luckily my husband made sure that as we waited the nurse kept checking my ever decreasing blood pressure.  

When it got very low during this time the nurse realised the blood loss was quite substantial and so I was immediately taken to a room to the gynecologist.  Long story short, everything was then happening very quickly and very painfully.  They managed to stop the bleeding and then scanned to make sure there was no other internal bleeding.  Luckily they did not think I would need a blood transfusion or more surgery.

So after a couple of days in hospital we missed our chance of going to the West Country, but we did make it home in time for lunch with my husband’s family instead. Also we enjoyed some glorious weather while I recovered from what I am now calling ‘my little blip!’

I am now four week post op and we are going to make sure we get down to Exmoor for the May bank holiday instead.  The journey down was a little bit painful and very tiring but when we arrived my entire body and soul took a deep breath in and relaxed.

A weekend away with my family was exactly what was needed, after all the stress of the last few months and then the recovery and ‘my little blip!’, to see all the animals and stunning scenery at my most favorite time of the year, was the best medicine a girl could ask for.   From moorland to seaside towns, I have come home feeling better than before my operation. Travel may be tiring, but it is also restorative.  I am now looking forward to finishing my recovery and getting back to being as healthy as I can be.

 

Out the other side – hysterectomy

What can I say, other than it’s all done!  April 4th 2019 was eviction day for all my lady parts with the talented Mr Griffiths.  I was both excited and nervous before the day, as I was being told by everyone who had it done or knew someone who had it done, it’s major surgery.  I drilled into all my boys that I would be needing a lot of looking after for weeks after the operation as I was going to be in pain and not to push my recovery too quickly.

It is not like I had not had surgery before, two laparoscopic and three c-sections, I recovered well after all of these.  I had read all the blogs about recovery and what to expect, but one thing they left out was how much less pain I could find myself in than before.

It’s true I obviously have some pain, there are three incision sites with stitches and I know inside will be more, the surgeon had to do a lot of scraping to rid me of the endometriosis.

But here I am on day six of recovery, the first day I am allowed out of bed without being shouted at by my husband,  without the familiar pain I have been in for so many years.  I didn’t realise how bad it had been to live with until now.  I am taking it easy and only pottering around the house and garden, when I get tired I rest.  The boys are still home and looking after me the best they can.

There are some things I would recommend to aid a speedy recovery;

  • Windeeze/peppermint tea or sweets, trapped wind can be painful.
  • Stool softener, you really don’t want to have to push.
  • Lots of fruit and berries, easy to eat as you will feel uncomfortable with anything heavy in your stomach, I ate a tonne of blueberries.
  • Triangle pillow, helps support you in bed.
  • Allow yourself the days in bed without feeling guilty, you will feel better for the rest.  
  • But don’t forget to get up and about a little bit, this will help get rid of any trapped wind and help you not stiffen up in bed.
  • I also took Arnica to help the healing.
  • Lots of fluid, will help with waking up your digestive system and bladder, will also help to eliminate any anesthetic left in your system.
  • Last is take the pain killers when you feel it coming on, if you leave it too late they will take a while to work and you will have to deal with the pain until they do.

*This is just my opinion, I am not medically trained in any way – always seek advice from a trained professional.

I can finally see what everybody is talking about, I do believe that I will be able to get my life back.  I have missed so much in the last couple of years, without really paying attention to much but the pain I was in.  I am looking forward to being able to horse ride, run, going to trampolining parks with the boys again and long dog walks.

All I have to say is, I wish I had it earlier.

frozen wave against sunlight
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