Sunday, 17 January 2016

Me, Myself and I





My dream is to disappear from the rat race, find a scheduled cottage halfway up a mountain. I'd bring with me the following:
  • My laptop - to write
  • A supply of notebooks and pens.
  • My kindle - to read
  • A steamer trunk full of books -to read
  • A couple of cases of wine - to drink (duh!)
  • 6 months supply of good food.
  • Fluffy PJ's and slippers
  • My phone - for the music of course!
And then, I'd just disappear for 6 months. I'd like some fresh food air dropped in once a week. When I tell my friends this they laugh! I think I am considered a bit of a strange one but this is my idea of pure heaven. Today, when the world is such a hectic place and there never seems to be a moment to stop and catch our breath, the idea of running away from it all is one that does consume my mind on many an occasion. Imagine waking up in a giant bed every morning, snuggled up with big chunky blankets, an open fire in the grate and complete silence all around. Next imagine getting out of that bed, opening the curtains and seeing a white winter wonderland or a beautiful spring meadow.  And then, after breakfast snuggling down on the sofa by the roaring fire and either reading or writing. *sigh*

In the modern world that is today, people are no longer happy or comfortable in their own company. The idea of isolation is appalling to many and I suppose it is a very personal thing. But imagine how chilled you'd be! Imagine not having to think about anyone but yourself. Imagine the self indulgence of having months of 'you time'. Could you cope? I definitely could but I'm not sure there are many who could. We seem to have few opportunities presented to us in which to experience true solitude and simply gather our thoughts. Would be more well rounded individuals or would we go stir crazy? Would we pen the next masterpiece or would we end up throwing the laptop out the window and going completely bonkers in a Jack Torrance (The Shining) type way? Would we end up having full scale conversations with book characters (yes I know most of already do that!)? Would you enjoy filling your day with all things literary or would you end up eating the books?

I think some of my friends would see this type of adventure (yes I do see it as an adventure of the mind) as pure torture whereas I would see it as an opportunity to relax, recharge and dream! I know that this is a contradiction of a previous post where I said I couldn't relax and needed to always be busy. But, for this type of opportunity I could ditch the busy bee mania that usually takes over my life! Unfortunately this type of dream is only achievable if you don't have any family commitments, work commitments and lots of money! Are you sane enough (or insane) to give this type of thing a go? Do you have unlimited funds? Then give me a call!!! I'll see you up the mountain!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Are you sitting down?

Are you sitting comfortably? You are? Well why are you sitting down in the first place? Get off your backside and go do something constructive! Ok, wait! Don't go and do something until you've read this post first! (Way to go Debs to get rid of readers!)

According to my husband I am a freak! Yes you read that right. I am a freak of nature. One of those weird people who have no clue how to relax. And, as much as I hate to admit it, he's right! God! He's such a smartarse! I am one of those people who is so busy that the ability to relax has become a skill long lost. I don't even take the time to relax in the bath. I remember a time when I was feeling stressed, running around like a nut and came home to find my lovely husband had run a bath, put candles all around it, warmed up some big fluffy towels and poured me wine. And, did I enjoy it? Was I grateful? Hell no! Of course, I didn't tell him that! I smiled appreciatively and thanked him for his kindness. It was a lovely thing for him to have done. But, what was running through my brain? Well, for a start my first thought was, 'I don't have time for a bath!' My second was, 'I might clean the bathroom later,' and did in fact clean the bath while I was sitting in it! It's insane I know but something I think sums up my lifestyle pretty well!

In an age when we are expected to be all things to all people and cram as much into our days as is  humanly possible we always take the quickest options, the fastest route or the one that allows us to fit as much into a small time frame as is possible. When did this happen? Is it a modern thing? I'm not sure. All I know is that the fact that there are not more hours in the day is something that stresses me out more than I can say! Perhaps its because I work full time plus try to write AND run a book tour company and be a carer that I feel this way. Although, part of the problem is that there is so much more that I WANT to do. Not stuff that I SHOULD do. I want to fit in more adventures and extra fun into an already manic lifestyle! I want to read more books. Chase that bookish job / career. I want to spend more time writing instead of snatching at the small pockets of time that open up to me occasionally.  Every time I have some rare free time I try to fill that time with something. Its all so exhausting!  Hell, I can do it though!!! Just give me more time!

I've often wondered whether this is an affliction that only hits the female of the species? My husband is by no means lazy. He does so much of the parenting and domestic chores whilst working in a very stressful job himself and trying to support me in all I do too. Although, today we don't  have our daughter to look after. Its a respite weekend for us and one that is much needed. Instead of relaxing like I'm supposed to do I was up early this morning and took my son out suit shopping for a job interview next week. Then we went food shopping and I did some cooking, some blog chores and a few other chores that needed doing. When I finish this post I am going to do some writing and reading. My husband on the other hand is lying on the sofa snoring his head off and its only 3.30pm! I love the man dearly but right at this minute I want to beat him around the head with my laptop! Sleeping during the day? Relaxing? Chilling out? Imagine!!! What a weirdo! I did suggest at lunch time that we ignore the sleet that is lashing against the window and go for a brisk walk with the dog along the coast. The dear man looked at me like I was insane and the dog hid under the sofa!

So, there you have it! I have forgotten how to relax. Its a weird affliction and one I hope someone finds a cure for soon. I imagine however that the only cure is a week lying on a hammock on some tropical island. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen any time soon so for now I will just have to suffer on. In the meantime, I'm going to go waken my husband and drag him outside for some fresh air.............or maybe just go out for pizza and wine instead! Decisions, decisions!

Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 here I come, ready or not!



My goodness! It seems we have all found ourselves at the beginning of a brand new year! And, like every new year I always like to start with a load of unattainable resolutions, setting myself up for complete and utter failure! Why do we do that? Promises to ourselves made in the heat of alcohol induced confidence on 31st December perhaps? Or do we really want to do the things we promise ourselves? Surely if we did then we'd just go ahead and do them. Wouldn't we? Of course we would.............I think! Quite often I set myself a goal. And then I fall flat on my face! Again! But with every passing year my expectations of myself and my 'goal posts' change a little. As I become older (as I'm constantly reminded of by my step daughter), my priorities change and I want different things out of life. Sometimes squeezing into a pair of size 8 jeans doesn't seem nearly as important as losing weight simply to be healthy. Or, being a little more fashionable doesn't seem as important as being happy in my own skin. I often wonder if we never truly make a decent attempt at reaching those goals because we are actually a little bit afraid of success. What would we dream about then if we actually reached those goals? No one said life provides any easy answers. Sometimes its damn well confusing!

So, what weird and wonderful new years resolutions have I set myself this year? All of my goals for 2016 are writing related. As many of you know, I took part in NaNoWriMo in 2015 and loved every back breaking, nervous breakdown inducing moment of it. It was tough. It made me cry. It made me laugh. Most of all, it gave me a great sense of achievement and a certainty that I should always be writing. I always knew I should be. I used to write a lot but life being what it is I always had other things to do. I don't think I'm particularly brilliant at it. Writing I mean. Not life. I'm damn good at life. I've got too much of it going on! I know I'm not going to be the next great author, wowing the world with my books. I just want to do something I love. There's too much going on in my head and I need to get it out. Since I started book blogging and in turn organising virtual book tours for authors I have grown a little in confidence. I now have many author friends who I respect enormously and I see how they have overcome some of life's obstacles to reach their dreams of being published. What a fantastic group of people! What an inspiration! I also see the generosity of the book blogging world and the support given to authors and I know I'll never be alone. I'll never be without a friend for advice, guidance or a shoulder to cry on when needed.

I still have so much to learn and the idea of sharing anything with anyone fills me full of fear and trepidation. I'd rather walk across hot coals than let anyone read what was written during my NaNoWriMo adventure.  Hopefully those feelings will soon ease a little and enough to let me hit the SEND button to share my writing with someone someday. But, the one goal I can achieve and in fact have already started is that I have started rewriting the Nano book. I sat with the laptop in front of me for ages, a cold sweat breaking out. I'd put it off all day but as I started to read the first chapter I thought of so many things that I should add to it. I have re-written it a couple of times now and I probably won't look at it again until the second round of rewrites. I'm taking this slowly. One chapter at a time. That's just how I work. I'll thrash the damn book to death before I'm remotely happy with it. It may take me years but at least I'm doing it! Something I never thought would happen. I'm still struggling with the idea of calling myself a writer. Am I really? Or am I just playing at it? Is it merely only a hobby or a vocation? Are those people who love to take lots of photographs really  photographers? Am I a wine critic because I drink it by the bucket? Probably not. For now, I suppose I am a wannabe. I hate that word but there you have it!

I've also promised myself I'll start keeping a diary again. Its always something I say I'll do and usually start but never continue with. Well, I figured that by telling you about it means I have no other choice but to keep a diary and fill it full of rubbish from my brain. Because, just in case you hadn't already noticed, I like to say a lot. So, for that very reason I have a diary which only allows me one page per day. Its a way of making me more succinct in my writing I suppose and try and cut out the crap I write. I don't want a diary to be a way for me to complain bitterly about my day or bitch about someone (I have this blog for that!). I'd like to add quotes I have found or links to important writing resources. Now and again there might be the odd 'I hate you cruel world' entry in it but I'll try to keep those to a minimum! We could all do without that sort of negativity. I just need to accept that sometimes life sucks! Get over it!

Another thing I've promised I'll do is find time to enter the odd short story competition or some other writing related comp so if anyone knows of any please let me know. I think entering things like this will keep me sharp. I'm going to be on the lookout for writing prompts too. I'm one of those people who sometimes needs a nudge in the right direction. I love grabbing hold of a suggestion or idea someone comes up with and doing something with it. When I was at school all those millions of years ago I used to love being given a title or a word and told to write a short story around it. While the rest of the class groaned their disapproval of the task I was in my element.  Yes my friends think I am a weirdo and they might be right. Didn't someone once say that you have to be insane to write? Probably something to do with those voices that keep popping into your head at the most inopportune moments!

I suppose one of my biggest goals this year is to make my book tour business even more successful. I love what I do and one day it will generate enough business to allow me to stay at home full time to pursue other writing work. Someone somewhere in the big old bookish world might even offer me a job! I'd certainly give up the other job (that currently pays the bills) in a heartbeat to do something I truly love. Can you imagine a job that involves books and writing and meeting authors and attending or organising book launches! Oh I feel dizzy with excitement at the thought of it...............or is that my hormones? I am a woman of a certain age after all! I want Brook Cottage Books to be thought of as one of the best book promotion places to go to. I want to provide a warm and friendly service that feels like the natural place for authors and publishers to come to. A book home from home. One fine day I'll even learn to promote myself a bit more.  Who knows what 2016 will bring. I'm hoping it brings 40 hour days so I can fit all of my New Year goals in but I can't see that happening! Anyway, happy New Year one and all. May 2016 be the year of your dreams.