I was fortunate enough to be able to take last week off to concentrate on editorial CPD, and then a fiction writing course.
First I joined six friends and editorial colleagues for a weekend in London (with a Skype link to Toronto!) to focus on our professional development and long-term goals. I’m starting to write this up, and will publish some more thoughts on that in due course.
I popped home for a barbecue and a change of clothes, then set off for Yorkshire to spend a week on an Arvon course, developing a work in progress (in my case, Novel 3).
All in all, it’s been a week of intense work, sustained periods of reflection, and many lightbulb moments, to do with paid work and otherwise. Best of all was no internet (there was no WiFi on the Arvon course, and I entered into the spirit of things by turning off the data on my phone, except when I needed to check a factual detail relating to the Fiat Cinquecento).
Here are a few things I figured out:
- To have the confidence to go my own way … whether that’s accepting that my editorial work has developed in a particular way that I am actually very happy with right now, and I don’t need to stress about arbitrarily changing it, or whether it’s having the guts to write what I want to write without worrying too much about trying to please people.
- To spend less time on the internet, and make it work for me rather then letting it take over and stress me out.
- To make the time I do spend online as positive as possible, and not to get bogged down in reading too much depressing political punditry. It’s not about burying my head in the sand, but there’s only so much bad news a person can take.
- To not try to do everything. To focus on fewer things and do them well, and be kind to myself.
- To spend as much time as I can in the moment, with real people. It’s all too easy to forget this part.
- That I should have the courage to pursue my writing goals. There’s still time!