Ready to Rise Again.

I’m a huge music fan. Normally it has to be LOUD, lots of guitar and drums. Occasionally, I need to take the time out and relax. I say occasionally, as I find this something very difficult to do.

He himself, exists like he is permanently hypnotised, in that way you say ‘sleep’ and he is, and ‘rest’ and he does. I find relaxing more stressful than working, it’s just how my brain works.

One of my go to music artists for relaxing is Gabrielle, I can close my eyes and delve deep into the simple lyrics.

When I listen to Rise it’s not a broken a relationship that has me thinking, but the end of a writing project. I won’t add the lyrics here, go and have a listen to the song yourself.

But time is great, so after every project I have forced myself to take time, for ME.

It’s taken me years, like all good therapy, to be able to say those words without feeling even a tinge of guilt. No, that’s a lie. There is still the odd moment I do.

Yet here I am as a writing coach telling you to take care of yourself. Let go.

To follow your dream you need to be of healthy mind and spirit. Mainly, because you will still be working 8-5 and writing in your ‘spare’ time.

Before the lockdown, I had my regular photoshoot booked with the wonderfully relaxing Maryanne Scott. Unsure what props to take, I decided in a mini hissy-fit that it shouldn’t be about always looking my best!

I am a writer for godsakes, not some catwalk model 😂😂 my working clothes are paint stained yoga pants, and my office is my front room. So, I decided to go au naturel, sans makeup and colour branded clothes.

Many years ago I trained as herbalist, nothing too ‘woohoo’ but I had health issues that conventional medicine was failing to help, I needed answers. Along that journey, I discovered Rosemary. I have since then kept a plant on my desk. A gentle squeeze and the aroma wakes me up, refreshes me. I learnt that is also helps with memory, in other words, the perfect writing companion!

Rosemary got me through writing my first novel.
Herbalicious!

My downtime is my garden, pre-virus it had sat in the backseat being engulfed in nettles (check out my other blog- Mandi’s potager garden) it was an understated apocalyptic example. The idea, this was my relaxation area, my go to studio. Without this I can’t relax. Well I now have no excuse.

The last few weeks have seen me keep busy, not relax, but this is MY WAY, and for the sake of yourself, you need to discover yours. WHATEVER IT IS.

Don’t let anyone tell you how to relax, we all do it differently. I actually find being busy my relaxation.

So the point of this post, is do not let ANYONE, make you feel guilty for who YOU are or how YOU look after YOURSELF, but to please make sure you do, guilt-free

Only you know what makes you feel good. Keep safe mentally and physically.

Mandi x

 

”We need to talk…”

As a writer, I create characters every day.

I think in glorious technicolour and now 4K how they would look and behave. I think in a volume of how they would sound through a beautiful Bose system, while as a creative writing teacher, I give examples of how to bring them to live. I use questionnaires to build a profile, teaching how to ask them awkward and embarrassing stuff, getting them to reveal who they are as if in some confessional. Their innermost secrets spilling for the writing student. 

I get the students to care deeply about each character becoming obsessive about the slightest detail and then we start to ask them why. We become shrinks. Psychologically assessing them, turning them over like the next page wanting, no need to know more. I ask them to listen, not to just what their characters will say but how they say it, the tone and timbre of their voice. Is there an intended inflection? A hint of sarcasm?

I explain how eventually they won’t be able to sleep as their characters interrupt their sleeping thoughts as well as their waking thoughts. How they will start to question their own sanity as small voices whisper in their ears.

I know and understand all this yet still I write on autopilot then I stop. Silenced.  No words.  

Because I have forgotten to talk to my own character. I’ve distanced myself unknowingly.

I assumed that they were still with me and naturally as I already knew all this wonderful stuff and had a conscious comprehension into the deeper workings of characterisation, that is would automatically filter through into my writing without effort! 

I had ignored them. As in all relationships, it takes work. Firstly, you need to be aware of the other person existence.  My character had become secondary. I was busy writing other projects, teaching, running after the kids, and as any spouse or friend would be, they had started to get on with their own life and I wasn’t included. They were waiting for me to make the first move after months of pushing them away. 

So I have had to bring in ‘date night’.

A time I set aside to get to know them again. The vast expanse is going to be a long ride before we are back on track, but now I realise it was me that walked away, I can walk back. 

We talk about everyday stuff, the usual awkward stilted responses of how’s your day? What have you been up to in the last six months? or present. I even apologise.  Promising to work harder on our relationship. I check in throughout each day, with a quick question ”What did you have for lunch? Did you have cake? How’s the new boyfriend?”

Improvements are slow but we are getting back on track.  We will survive this having been friends, good friends even, for some years now. 

I know one day she will go, maybe around book three, when I have finished telling their story. But until then I will question and listen to every word they have to say.