After a couple of years of commissioned writing, moving house, setting up a second home in France and winding down a full academic career at a Russell Group university, it’s time to get back in touch with ‘the book’. Why now? It’s the busiest writing time of my life, editing a commissioned book (with Maggie Robson), the 2nd edition of the Sage Handbook for Counselling Children And Young People, authoring commissioned distance learning university courses, writing articles for a professional journal, reviewing articles, and preparing proposals for new counselling and psychotherapy books. Having recently retired from Newcastle University and working part-time for Arden University Ltd, as well as running my private practice counselling, clinical supervision and training, I’ve perceived lots of free time. Surely ‘semi-retired’ means that?
It means working with a new vigour on projects I choose to take on. More flexibility and choice. Different locations, but working from home. Always. ‘Home’ may be the North of England, or the South of France (or Florida, Costa Rica, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, more about this later) but my choice of location and my choice of times.
So why #my500words again now when I’m writing so much? I write more than that everyday. I want to get back into my novel, Under Her Skin, and this is what the challenge refers to. It’s slipped, big time, and I miss it.
Watch this space!
The Sage Handbook for Counselling Children and Young People was launched today at Blackwell’s bookshop on Keele University Campus. Along with co-editors Maggie Robson and Ann Beynon, I signed many copies of the book. We were fuelled by wine and nibbles, and it was great fun, the end of 2-3 years of hard work writing, editing and managing a large number of authors. Writing is not just about the words on the page!
I’m taking Jeff Goins 500 word October blogging challenge. Can I write 500 words a day on my blog? What will I write? Who am I writing for? Are you my audience?who are you? While writing this blog post, I realised that the theme is creativity.
It’s been months since I’ve written for this blog, I’ve been too busy, the counselling book, family, work, travel. But the effect on me is lack of fulfilment. Many of us need to be creative in order to feel fulfilled, check out the book- The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness – written by a psychiatrist and a hand surgeon. Creativity and being in touch with our creative self can change the way we feel, about ourselves, others and provide immense pleasure and satisfaction, taking us into the ‘zone’. I spoke with a counselling client today who could not find her own creativity, her feelings were too mixed up with being ‘bad’ at painting and drawing, rather than enjoying a broader sense of creativity not linked to achievement or the judgement of others.
This brings me to the idea of achievement in writing and others’ judgements of my attempts to produce clear, coherent writing, a novel, a psychological thriller. Write a bestseller and get rich, friends say. Sadly, miss the point. Or do they? Who am I to write such a book, a best selling novel? I’ve written a best seller, a therapy book, this isn’t the same. Can I write a best selling novel? Do I want to? You can sense my ambivalence here. I’m not special, famous, or particularly interesting. How can I write a book that will engage and entertain? Why would I?
Here’s why. I’m me, special and unique in my own introspective, introverted way. I’m feisty, I can and will do this. What has feistiness got to do with it? My natural inclination to hide and remain anonymous, in true introvert style can be overcome by a sort of grumpiness, partially mildly aggressive attitude to get the better of my inclination to hide under a stone, eyes closed, wishing everyone would go away and leave me in peace. My feistiness gives me a voice, it says ‘bring it on, here I am’. Wow, the power of words! I’m taking the 21 day blogging challenge and leaving e safety of my cave. Bring it on!