Self Care …SElF….SElfish?


Practising Self Care has been my damn life saver

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Thank you Jo and Cee Jay for alerting me to its very possibility 4 years ago!

After all, if I dont practise it noone else will for me!

And boy do I practice now!

From…..walking for hours on a deserted beach, meandering along the Medina for miles, swimming in the still cold sea to….snuggling deep into my duvet and allowing myself a complete day to just ‘be’ not ‘do’, treating myself to the odd massage or new nails, ordering a naughty treat online  ..and ….. frequenting music, fun and friends between when my social rancour abides!

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So….I have learned lots too – that eating little and often is far better for my unique metabolism, especially avoiding late night binge fests on both food and alcohol after zero all day. That avoiding wheat esp in white TIGER and cheese bread – but oh the temptation – is ESSENTIAL to avoid morning bloating – belly like a b BALLOON – and stomach cramps.   That I NEED – no make that HAVE to HAVE my 5 a day or I am in an inordinate amount of pain for no conceiveable reason.

That walking, swimming or ANY form of exercise and fresh air out and about FEED my sleep pattern and its soooooo much better when I do this.  Gone are the 5am mental all nighters and the lethargic days that follow.  Gone are the persistent whirling thoughts in fact since I self imposed a complete STOP on that damn medication.

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Sure it got me through and boy those were some difficult times. But I am doing ok without and into my 9th week – and to actually FEEL again is a total eye opener!

Zombification begone!

Most of all – alone time is my salve and my step away from the vehicle of Life saviour!

Closing the cottage door, switching off the phone, shunning social media, indulging in some good drama box sets or simply writing, reading or doing NOTHING -that is right – NOTHING is a godsend. And I am at a stage in my Life where I am lucky enough to be able to do that now.

This may mean that funds are low but I also find that less work means having to live far more simply and this in itself is a revelation.  I almost feel sick at my spending habits of the past. The old me.

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So thank you new me.

Thank you to all the new friends I have made here on this beautiful isle – to the fresh saline air, the clear starry skies, the winds and waves of the Solent – the rolling hills, endless beaches, and pretty harbours.

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Here I am.

Three years on.

Still surviving.

Sleep…or not…Eat….Write…or not.


Seem to have a complete block on at the moment.

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Highlighted further by attempting to churn something out on demand at the latest Writers meeting and finding I just cannot do that and remain true to my real writing. When some kind soul drifted over to tell me it was classic Mills & Boon territory I have since given up entirely. Thanks mate!

I also abandoned tonight’s meeting at my original writers club on the first hint of an excuse. So…what is going on? Writing abandoned, more reading has been taking place. Lots of job searching and lesson prepping and even some actual teaching.  Plenty of socialising. So I could be forgiven…? No. Didnt think so

The irony is when I am feeling ok -ish – as in not in Black Dog mode or beating myself up about past misdemeanors – of which there are many – and which we know is a pointless pastime – I DO tend to write LESS

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Its as if I seem to need some kind of injection of sadness or melancholy to douse the spirits and in turn get the creative juices flowing. Sitting at a table with 19 others and grabbing an unforseen topic with a 15min time limit to write just isnt cutting it for me lately. I guess we could call it a lack of Muse. I need my Muse to inspire me, to help me create. She has not been accompanying me to a draughty library of late. Or even at 4am stints of insomnia in which I previously churned out many thoughts but I now douse with banal TV Box Sets!

The abandoned novel lies inert beside the bed … edited and copy proofed beyond its limitless life. I prod it on occasion and finally drift off with a head full of plot revisions or additions but the next day it still lies, inert, unprodded. Guilt hangs above me like a cluttered cloud of calamitous thoughts…until I remind myself writing should be – always has been – my Pleasure. Not another duty. Or obligation. Or a switch to turn on or off at will. Especially in a draughty  library with 19 others also forcing the same forth.

Perhaps its just as well I am taking a break next month from all things written. Tomorrow night I indulge in the spoken word at a local cafe in which a few of us are booked to read out some work or poetry. But this is more organic. We choose our genre, we choose our time and no reluctance ensues. The Spoken Word can sometimes alleviate the need to write. It gives more chance to share the things you cherish or are proud of writing. The things you know are considered pieces. Not in a showing off look how damn good I am at this writing lark way. Not in a need to disguise flaws, all of us have those.

It is a chance to hear a part of one’s soul, a part of one’s person, to appraise, applaud, critique more constructively. Or simply to accept another wine and enjoy a plate of food with others while you share ideas, enjoy the ambience and the lilt of the spoken voice as in times of old folklore and thank this Life that there ARE more like minded people to share your idiosyncrasies with.

Oh, look. I have written some words on  the blank page.

Like Ted Hughes’ Thought Fox I stumbled and fell a little at first, gained momentum and finally left a few footprints.

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2.11a.m


Its 2am. Later

But what do I care – when did I ever care about Time, Constraints, Schedules, Must-be-there’s, Have-tos, – but I am thrilled its 2am – gone – and I am finally WRITING again.

Because I DID it you know?

I finished the NaNoWriMo with an almighty final push that nowhere near equals giving birth – sorry ladies – and actually finished around this same time on the final deadline date of 30th November. And then I slept at last….and slept…and slept.

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The following day I had booked into a Writers Retreat on the island and intended to start editing this pile of sludge I had manifested from my weary mind. No way. I cancelled that and all other plans the entire weekend, and slept.

I didn’t write a thing. I didnt even look at it. I couldn’t .

It was akin to some mad passionate fling you may have, all obsessive, all consuming and yet finally, spent and weary you realise you cannot continue in this mad unrelenting vein!

November has been a blur. Starting NaNo holed up at my friends where he kindly proffered much tea and snacks, if not much sympathy! – I then retreated to my island haven and spent the final 19 days of the month completely immersed in my plotting, my weaving, my tapestry.  I lived it, ate it, breathed it. Even the poor dog was tired of me hunched over my laptop day and night only pausing to finally walk her and myself, or to reluctantly throw some food together. It was sheer total indulgence but it worked! Some days I wrote nothing – but still mused and thought lots, planning in my mind as I walked over the fields and in the woods near the cottage. Each day I updated both Instagram and the NaNo planner online for word count and running total, sometimes checking in with other Southampton writers, even joining in the odd sprint prompted by the teams mentor or on NaNo Twitter feed. Those sprints kinda saved me!!

Everyday too my outer world slipped by unnoticed. Bills and post piled up as did dirty cups from continual caffiene fixes, but still I wrote on. I would break up the day as it headed into night – I think, who knew? – by lighting a real fire in the grate and using it as futher inspiration as I gazed deep into its flickering life, and traced the splintered sparks fizzling into the chimney with sporadic outbursts. Who knew how many hours passed by. Who cared.

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Years and years I had dreamt of  having this luxury. I had seen myself, invariably alone, in my rose adorned cottage by the sea. Writing.

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If you can manifest your total dream – your Heart’s Calling – into reality then I have done so. Oh, it was not at all simple. Yet it always felt inevitable, if not imminent.  It took years.

Years of study, travel, heartache, family, relationships, bringing up children mostly alone, studying again, teaching, travelling, constantly moving but always, always that one constant throughout it all. My Writing.

Cliched. My Love. My Passion.

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Yes I make a living at it too. I teach writing skills, I persuade others to love Literature with the same zealous abandonment I always have, I even entice some over to the joys of poetry. I help them prepare for and pass exams. Sit through endless group and 1:1 tutorials; I help novice teachers find their feet, gain their certs and head off into the wide blue yonder of modern teaching. I loiter on Skype, and Webex, and Zoom trawling through online lessons but always conscious of my main purpose behind it all.

MY Writing.

My dream, long held, lovingly nurtured, and often rescued from the depths, dusted off and resurrected to its original pedestal.  To be away at last, isolated, indulgent, wake up when I want, write for as long and as late – or early – as I want. No demanding kids – although I adore you all and do not regret a minute – no more demanding husband 🙂 urging me to turn out the light, to stop rustling papers, to put down the book. No noisy street below or bellowing neighbours each side. No school runs, no pick ups, no teacher meetings or report days, no football matches to attend, ballet to watch, knees to patch up, tears to dry, faces to scrub.

No nothing . A nothingness. Which sounds a little sad but that is Nostalgia. I have travelled his beguiling path before and where does it take me? straight back to the Present. The Here and Now. Where I am.

The time I always longed for while I was still ostensibly living my life has somehow finally arrived. The coast. The Cottage. The Roses. The Writer.

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Let’s see if I can do her justice somehow at last.

I owe it to her

I owe it to Myself.

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My Freelance Life


Awake since the early hours – nothing new – and suddenly realising as I look ahead across my day – how truly freelance my entire Life has become!

Freelance writer

Freelance tutor

Freelance House Dweller

Freelance Mother

Freelance Lover

Freelance Daughter/sister/aunt.

Even a freelance dog owner!

I am reminded of Dido – My Life is for Rent – nothing I have is truly mine!

Yet how did I get here? Well, for once in my life it was by design not sheer fluke.

Halfway through NaNoWriMo – see my tentative start 2 weeks ago – and I am suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the final 30,000 words I am committed to and also the epiphany after years of moodling over this novel that there are so many damn HOLES.

I always said it would be faction – fiction and fact combined, but now I am really understanding the depths of blending the line between the two. If I dress it up with speech and other fictional adornments will it remain true to the essence I wished for? If I do not use artistic licence I have already seen that it comes off dry and lacklustre. Yet it’s proving so very difficult to repaint a story I have known, have lived with all my life and now that I finally commit its truth to paper I find myself wishing I had opted for pure fiction. Which surprises me!

Perhaps its the picking open of old wounds, the smattering of emotions that I had not fully delved into like this, the deep hurt that is released when I am in my Character’s minds as past events unravel. The reality of their lives. The nerve of me to enter their world and dare to reinvent their sorrow. Almost like therapy, it is far harder than book one.  Yet book one was only possible because of book two. Its ok …at least I know what I mean. Book two caused the events of book one and yet although I solely own them I feel less ownership of the events that actually happened to me – to us ALL in book two.

I have written this blog post in two parts – 16th and now 24th – I have done very little writing between so am really not sure I will reach my goal. Holed up this entire weekend to push it along. I also went along to my 3rd writers club – a new one – on the 20th and it totally re-inspired me. I found myself writing on cue to the task provided in the club that night, along with 10 other writers, and managed to produce some work of which I am slightly proud. It also allowed me to integrate and externalize the sad events of the past two weeks – the internal feelings and thoughts manifested onto the page into a concrete being – and intriguingly the same thing that seemed to halt my writing reignited it.

Uncannily, the given theme of being underwater was exactly linked. Thus the inspirational tool I needed.

I hope all of you committed to NaNoWriMo this month are doing well – we CAN crack this!

 

Please check me and my writing progress out on instagram – YvieSheaHourihane

Happy Writing moments to you all!

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Getting Geared up for NaNoWriMo #octoprep


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So here I am, long aware that stencilled in my diary amidst work commitments and social promises is the NaNoWriMo start date of November 1st 2018

Earlier, flicking lazily through Instagram, I realise there is now a newly added diary entry of Octoberprep! Mmmm, methinks this did not exist and is also a rather naughty pre addition to what is supposed to be a full 30 days of writing to reach a set amount of words by the end of November. To the unintiated National Novel Writing Month in November gives one a kick up the rear end to get our acts in gear and get writing and finishing that novel. While I want to lament that its unfair to prep a novel you should write in only 30 days…I have to confess my copious notes and character visualisations, my endless plotting and structuring, my playing with various beginnings but I hasten to add, not endings – is surely of the same ilk?

Yet I began years ago I counter in my defence….ah, therein lies the rub. The long awaited novel gets dusted off but its premises and original plot rejuvenated ready for The Big Write. My aspirations then to sit languorously at a neat desk – or was it neatly at a languorous desk – to bang out, churn out, spurn out, force out, 3000 words a day may in fact materialise after all.

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The main planning of course needs to be the desperately required endless cups of coffee, and simultaneously someone with endless patience to keep providing them to my hunched. oblivious to reality figure, to fuel and oil my ceaseless thoughts, stroke or should that be stoke? my brain into further creativity.

Publishing my short story in April with 2 more to add to the trilogy plus a small volume of poetry, entering a local competition and attending to my other blogs makes me sound prolific. Sadly untrue. Those were the culmination of thoughts etched into ink long ago and then botched together when it finally hit me I could indeed selfpublish and that my long held notes and ideas did indeed actually have a structure to slot into. A structure that had eluded me for many years, yet once I stopped thinking too hard appeared to me confident in its knowledge it would work.

The novel is a whole other Entity. It breathes of its own accord and haunts me in shadows, beset by memories and indecision, shrouded in mystery and a very opaque ending preceded by a long drawn out journey.

Lets hope it can breathe Life into itself over November.

Good luck to all else involved!

 

Note to self@2.am the following morning ….its actually called Preptober ….oops 🙂

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