My posts have been erratic these past few months. We moved house in July and our new home has had to be totally renovated. This past week has been hectic with new windows installed, door removed, doors installed, windowsills fitted and and the remainder of the plastering completed. My head is frazzled. And it’s been hard to keep up any kind of regular writing practice. The builders have various radios around the site, all tuned into different stations, all VERY loud. It helps them at their work but does nothing for mine, and because we have no carpets the sound vibrates through the floor and walls. It’s hard to concentrate with such sensory overload.
I work as best I can but I find it’s mainly admin and nothing at all creative.
And yet, I’ve been writing a lot lately. How so?
When I escape the house and walk my dog, regardless of the weather, I am able to leave it all behind. It takes a few minutes for me to get onto the heath land and by the time I have been walking for ten minutes I begin to relax, and my thoughts untangle themselves – especially on a day like this, when the sun is shining and the glorious fire colours of autumn stretch across the landscape. The air is fresh and clean and watching Harry bound through the golden grasses fills me with joy. The simple things in life are definitely the best ways to nourish the spirits.
And as I walk the characters in the novel I am working on begin to talk to me. I can hear their conversations because there are no other noises to distract me. I know that if I don’t capture these scenes and dialogue I will forget them by the time I get back to the house, so I use my phone to record the thoughts and ideas that come to me, safe in the knowledge that I can transcribe them when I get home and the house is quiet at the end of the day.
It stops me getting stressed that time is passing and I am not being productive.
It’s amazing how you can find the time and mental space to relax if you can get out of your usual environment and, whether you’re a writer or not, many of our problems and anxieties can be resolved if we take time out in nature.
And it doesn’t matter if we can’t walk out into the woods and heath, or if we aren’t self-employed or work in towns or cities. You can always find somewhere interesting to walk that takes you out of a stressful, pressured environment and gives you a moment to simply walk and breathe.
My mum walks down the high street where she lives, and always has done, two maybe three times a day, although not so much these latter years. Walking down St Peter’s Avenue is the first thing I do when I go home to see her. I don’t feel grounded until I’ve walked the circuit of St Peter’s Avenue, Seaview Street and along Alexandra Road, taking in the sea air. Walking makes you feel connected.
We live in stressful times. A report out recently illustrated the shocking numbers affected by stress and depression in the workplace. I think we need to find ways to combat this, ways that are simple and free.
Life is complicated enough.