I have always had a strange fantasy of being holed up in a nondescript motel room, with only basic amenities. And this was well before Schitt’s Creek made motel living chic. And it has finally came true.
I know, as fantasies go, it is a bit of a weird one. It ties in with another idea of living in a nun-like cell with just a bed, and few possessions.
What does that say about me?
I have a happy, unhurried life, and to be fair these dream scenarios haven’t been longed for in a few years. But I think it stems from the many, and mostly wonderful, but sometimes overwhelming, diversions and distractions we have around us.
I know I’m exceedingly lucky to have so much on offer in front of me (or should I say, had so much, now that I’ve seen the new energy bills!). I also know that I have the propensity to fritter away time and be distracted by nonsense that is forgotten moments after it has been consumed.
Virginia Woolf writes, ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’. I think of that and feel guilty about having such freedoms and not making good use of them.
This afternoon, thanks to Storm Eunice, we have just come back from spending a full day and an extra night at a Travelodge on the M4 by London, and it was wonderful. There was zilch in the way of anything to do, other than read and write. Luckily Anne is also very self-contained if she has a good book on the go and I was able to spend the day cracking on with course work.
As I’ve said in a previous blog, I’ve embarked on a post-graduate certificate with the Open University, doing Creative Writing, and the past few months have been a revelation.
When I did my first degree, all those years ago, I was rubbish at doing the work required, and I scraped a 2:2 for my non-efforts. Since October this time, I’ve been determined to create a different narrative for myself. I have always used the line ‘I don’t have the self-discipline’ whenever I’ve come across things that need a bit of hard work and effort.
I’ve picked up writing in the past, and put it down again because to sustain it and develop my skills needed practice and perseverance. I have tried fitness regimes, joined gyms, and wasted good money on not keeping it up.
So why is this course different?
I have learnt, at a fundamental level, that writing requires a huge amount of practice and perseverance. There is a modicum of aptitude to begin with, but not many people would have chosen this course if they didn’t have a toe in the water. It makes sense. You can’t be a painter, without learning all the techniques that have come on before.
So this is the thing. Why haven’t I given up yet? I think, partly because I’ve handed in two pieces of work and got good marks. A pat on the back when you’re working on something always helps, even when you’re an adult. I’ve also got into the habit of writing a blog every few days for a year, so that has helped my flit-about mind settle sometimes. And thirdly, the biggest revelation, is that I’m enjoying it. Now that is the most shocking thing!
Because I find (and this lesson has been learnt very late by me) that the more I do, the more I do! There are still plenty of times when I’m chewing the proverbial pen tip ( as mostly I type). But it quickly passes as I just change how I think about it, if I don’t know how the beginning will be, I’ll write a paragraph on a bit that will be in the middle. Of course I’ll still make another cup of tea, do round of sudoku or three every now and then, but less so.
When Storm Eunice reached her full strength, our brief overnighter in the service station Travelodge turned into that slightly longer stint. And it may have appalled most people to find themselves stranded with just a few food shops, but our room had unlimited teas and coffee sachets, and a bath. I had my notebook and Anne had her kindle. Bliss.