Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Clearing the Decks

Wow, what a busy start to 2014. I have several things on my list of goals for the year, and by January 3rd, three of them had happened. Amazing! And trust me, they weren’t ‘little’ goals, either. The angels were genuinely paying attention when I wrote that heart-felt list on New Year’s Eve. No doubt the new Moon in Capricorn (my Sun sign) spurred things along on New Year's day.

I have sold The Mother magazine, and am preparing to focus on writing fiction full-time and building up my publishing business, Starflower Press, by specialising in illustrated children’s books. I still have several non-fiction books inside me (and partially written) that I intend to finish at some point, too. For now, I feel I have all the time in the world...and that feels pretty darn wonderful.

In the meantime, have promised myself time off after twelve years of working virtually seven days a week.but old habits die hard, and I can feel myself simply itching to ‘get to work’. Rest, I tell myself. You need it! A well-rested field gives a beautiful crop. I need to nourish, nurture, and ‘feed’ my soul if I expect anything useful to grow from my creative depths. If motherhood has taught me anything, it is this: fill your own well first.

My goals for the next month include: nurturing myself through walking in the woods (is this rain ever going to stop?) with my friend Sarah, meeting my friend Julia for a coffee, going to the movies with my husband, seeing a kinesiologist, and reading some novels.

I will have no doubt written about this before, either on a blog or in The Mother, but for years and years I didn’t read novels. It always felt like too much pleasure, and if I was going to sit on my butt (or laze in bed) reading for hours on end, then it damn well had to be educational. Non-fiction only!

I read voraciously as a teenager, devouring romance novels ~ such a wonderful antidote to boring secondary school. I would read them in my bedroom when I was supposed to be studying and doing homework. Then I’d hear my mum walking up the hallway and I’d shove the knight in shining armour into the drawer and bury my head into a biology textbook and studiously examine how to dissect a frog. Talk about going from princes to frogs! Over time, the guilt built up and upand so for the majority of my adult life I denied myself the pleasure of reading fiction.

It was a few years back, when my adrenals crashed (too much stress from a personal issue) that I was bed bound and too exhausted to do anything. My daughters, bless them, bought me a whole stack of second-hand romance novels from a charity shop. I felt like I’d come back home. A dear friend laughs that I can read such ‘cheap’ fiction and yet have bookshelves filled with weighty esoteric tomes that absorb me for hours and stretch the grey matter. Ah, what can I say? I’m a woman of many parts. The truth is: the romance-novel genre is the most popular of all fiction, and for damn good reason: it’s a wonderful source of pleasure, and, unlike chocolate, it’s fat free!

I have to thank my first novel, Mosaic, for opening me up to the possibility that I could actually make a career out of writing fiction. I can’t begin to express how exciting my future feels. I feel all giddy like a little girl at Christmas, and oh how I love Christmas.

I will never again deny myself the pleasure of reading or writing fiction.

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