Hi everyone, I’m back from a really relaxing week away with the family where my only thoughts were pretty much; Which book do I read? Which cocktail shall I order? and I should probably apply more sun-cream which was just what I needed after a busy few months.
There’s nothing like really slowing down and altering your daily routine to truly enjoy the little things and just reduce the swarm of thoughts buzzing around your head.
I read two great books, revelled in my addiction to just staring at the sea view, and dared myself to swim out to Monkey’s rock in the bay by our hotel, despite it being incredibly rocky to actually just get in the sea, Tenerife being a volcanic island and all!
Monkey’s rock in the distance to the left, because it looks like King Kong laying down!
I tiptoed in not wanting to cut my feet until a local man said I had to get in and swim on my back, despite it being only a foot and a half of water! It worked though and I slowly edged my way into the deeper water. There’s something pretty awesome about swimming in the sea, I’ve always loved it, it’s where I feel truly free and I think I may have been a mermaid in a past life, although I’m a warm-sea-swimmer only!
The kids did a million handstands in the pool, went to the teen lounge and giggled together in a conspiratory way that they rarely do at home but on holiday they rely on each other for daft entertainment, whilst me and the husband bake ourselves in the sun, moving only occasionally to cool off, sip a shandy or eat!
When we have such a busy schedule at home, I really appreciate the chance to do absolutely nothing and re-charge, it was just what we needed. Having dinner, playing cards in the evening and listening to the live music in the bar became our only routine – no alarms, no homework to nag about, no places to be by a set time, just the choice of where to eat and what to wear….bliss!
One of my absolute favourite things about these laid-back holidays is that it gives me quality time to read, rather than five minutes before bed when I fall asleep after a few pages. However, I get so into a good book that I don’t often hear people speak to me, including my kids!
I get lost in another world, loving the stories but also analysing their writing, what makes them different, why does it make me thirsty for more, which character do I love the most and why? – as a fellow writer, it’s a double whammy for me, total enjoyment and rapture at the story-line and a lesson in great writing all at the same time.
The added bonus when I’m so engrossed is it also reignites my passion to finish my own book. I hear whispers becoming louder each day – ‘You can do this you know… this could be you.’ and I start daring to dream again, imaging my book complete, with a proper cover even, and then ultimately standing proudly on the shelf of a bookstore. Once again, the dream takes shape and moulds itself into a hard copy, a physical possibility and I start to get excited at the prospect of writing it all over again.
And that is why creatively, these chilled out holidays, where my brain can rest from day to day responsibility, where I don’t have to clock-watch and think who do I need to pick up or when can I fit in the dog walk, when I can truly empty the day to day logistics out of my head, become worth their weight in gold.
It gives me the space to really enjoy someone else’s creative talents, which then in-turn completely inspires me. But of course, I need to put the work in, it’s not going to magically happen over-night.
The first book I read was, Ordinary People by Diana Evans – a very honest account of two fictional couple’s relationships, the struggles they faced and the impact of children, a real, warts and all, quite emotional read and it was written beautifully. It’s the kind of writing that makes me want to do better, try harder and craft every sentence into something memorable.
Another book had this impact on me a few years back, called The Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winnman and also Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderahs that I read earlier this year.
I love it when writing is completely different to what you imagine, and the realisation sinks in that you are going to get on very well together as companions over the next week or so.
My point is it’s great when you read something that is not necessarily your usual genre that you like and you learn something from it as a result. All these books have in common a wide variety of vocabulary and it’s something you really have to focus on to get right and not slip into your usual general style and language of writing – but also that’s what re-drafts are for as you realise these little mistakes when you read it all over again!
I think the thing I’ve learned most his holiday about my writing, especially upon reading my first draft again is how much more showing rather than telling in my story I need to do.
For anyone unsure of what that means, there’s a great explanation here but essentially, by showing you are allowing the reader to deduce information themselves rather than you telling them directly what is happening or how someone is feeling.
The second book I finished was completely different, ‘Collecting Conversations’ by Sam Bunch – something I’ve been picking up and down for a while as it’s that kind of book, and could easily hang around your coffee table, (making it look very chic too!).
Sam wrote the book after her Mum died and she found 30 years’ worth of diaries that had just a sentence entry each day! Sam realised that these small musings on life in general made up a whole picture of her Mum’s life. She talks about that difficult time and then underwent an experiment, interviewing 107 women from all walks of life and ages, about every day normal things in life and also the bigger questions we have.
It’s a fascinating, insightful book into the experiences, thoughts and emotions of women in today’s society, I guarantee you’ll find it really interesting and thought provoking. Sam’s now on with writing a similar book but this time having conversations with Men, I’ll definitely be picking that one up!
So, these books have certainly given me food for thought and a kick up the backside to get going again. I’m now back on Swim duty of a different kind, my daughter’s back training with peeling shoulders and without the fear of a shark about to bite her leg – that’s the drama you get with a 13 year old swimming in the sea – she literally freaked out as seaweed brushed her feet and she saw the black crabs scuttling up Monkey’s Rock ‘They’re’ Moving!!!!!!!’ she announced in a high-pitched wail! – I nearly choked on the waves laughing – but that of course makes fabulous memories and helps to feed the imagination too.
I couldn’t resist a quick sketch of monkey’s rock!
My advice to my fellow creatives and writers, occasionally you need to take time out, have a week off, rest those brain cells that are constantly whirring with ideas, projects, colours, designs and send them on a retreat to just BE STILL, I promise your worn-out mind will thank you for it and the dream machine will once again whizz back into life….speaking of which, time to get back to my book, for once I’ve given myself a stricter deadline – 7 weeks to end of school term and to finish that blumming (yes that’s how we talk in Yorkshire), frustratingly scary yet exciting, first draft – See I’m even putting it in bold to make me do it!
I’ll let you know how I get on!
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
P.s WOW Wednesdays start this week (June 5th) another exciting project I’ve come up with that myself and Clair from @asocialnature are running @miriamskitchentable to help people from the local community (and ourselves!) who work from home, run their own businesses, are studying or just have some life goals to work on, to basically have accountability buddies and help us all stay on track, move forward and celebrate our achievements!
Some more information will be going up on the website soon but for now, please click here if you live local to Huddersfield and would like to come along. They will be happening every 2 weeks at 9.30am and you can stay as little or as long as you like! They’re free too, we’d love to see you there!!
PP.s And finally there will be another ‘Playing with Writing’ workshop happening on Wednesday June the 12th at 7pm-9.30pm at Miriam’s too. If you’re even just the tiny bit curious about giving writing a go, please do come along, all my participants have loved it so far!