I think I’ve always loved writing. I know I’ve always had one helluva good imagination. I remember being a wee girl and taking old paperback books my mum had lying around the house, and I’d go outside and read aloud from the book, walking around the garden. Except I’d be making up my own story, pretending the words on the page were my own. When you write professionally, in any context, it’s not something you do as a hobby – it almost becomes something you have to do.
Last year, after I published my first novel “Stolen Nights” I started to put a massive amount of pressure on myself to write. If I didn’t write, I would constantly berate myself as though I was failing myself. I was on this massive high from being accepted by a publisher that I found it difficult to concentrate on the new, blank page in front of me. Last year, my writing, the perpetual love-of-my-life dwindled to a standstill.
By the end of December 2012, I decided I had to do something about this funk I had fallen into. Writing was such a massive part of my life, even through my teens when I should have been out misbehaving and getting into trouble, I was sitting at my desk with a cup of tea, writing for hours on end. So, I decided slow and steady wins the race. Isn’t that the old story? It was the tortoise that crossed the finish line and not the arrogant, self-assured hare.
From the 1st of January I started writing a little every day. I told myself there was no pressure to write 5000 words in one sitting. I would get there in the end, providing I focused and ENJOYED writing the smaller amount that I did write. And so, with the exception of two days, I have written every day of these first two weeks of January. I’ve made more progress on my new novel than I made in the whole of 2012. I feel positive, optimistic and as if I have achieved something.
I always thought writing came easy to me. It did when I was a teenager, and it’s amazing what putting pressure on yourself can do, and how unproductive you can become when that pressure starts to grind on your inspiration.
I believe 2013 will be a good year for me. I think I’ve found the secret to not procrastinating, and that is to find what you love about something and really enjoy it. Whether it be music, art, or even your work, stop focusing on your own failures and rejoice in your smallest achievements. I have been doing that every day, and my smallest achievements have me at least halfway through my new project – by that, I mean all those small triumphs will eventually become something big.