What a stimulating summer!
I have had a lovely jaunt round Northumberland and the Lake District, with a little peek at Hadrian's Wall in between. I'm no travel blogger, so I won't go into great detail, but I will say that one of the highlights for me was visiting John Ruskin's home by Coniston Water. It is intriguing to walk around the home of a writer and discover that he has his chair placed exactly where I would choose to write in that house, furniture I would have chosen, rooms decorated in a style that resonates with me. Even his collections of 'treasures' were rather like mine - interesting stones, sea shells, quirky bits and pieces from visitors and friends, plus the odd item of monetary value. Then the garden was fascinating, too. Built climbing up a hill, its nooks and crannies opening into glades with interesting natural sculptures - my favourite being a series of beautifully-carved wooden hands rising from the earth expressing praising, or stretching, or praying. A perfect place to write.
The Northumberland coast was inspiring, too. A great sense of peace and the beautiful rolling sound of the sea. Long stretches of sand - all very restful, helping tension and urgency to wash softly away.
But, I had set out with eight copies of 'Losing Face' in the motorhome, fully intending to march into one or two bookshops with review copes, thus conquering the north of England with brilliant marketing strategies that would ensure a steady stream of visitors southwards in 100 years' time to visit the home of brilliant writer Annie Try and discover her special places to write. Alas, it was not to be. We did not come across one large bookshop and those we saw seemed 'too specific' or 'too upmarket' or 'not really fitting in with my marketing plan' or, in fact, anything else that covered my loss of nerve to go in!
Meanwhile, coming ever nearer was an opportunity to be more involved in the Association of Christian Writers. I went to the longest committee meeting I've ever been to on Saturday and was offered a place on the committee to become the Local Writers' Groups/Regional Events Co-ordinator. Strange really, as I was very honest and told the committee I was extremely time-pressured. But hey, it's not my time, it's God's and this is an exciting opportunity to help others with their writing. So, look out - here comes the brand new LWGREC! (Must do something about that cumbersome job title . . .)
But, wait. First things first. I shall review everything in my life to carve out the time the job needs. Some things must stay - my psychology clients and the training that goes with being a good clin psych, my large family, my church work, my writing, my friends, my novel.
But most importantly, I must always keep those times of quiet, reflection and inspiration that provide the sweet oils for my life to run smoothly.