Monday, 14 December 2015

Through the Looking Glass

It wasn't until I logged into Blogger today that I realised it has been nearly two months since I posted on here. This is partly because I sometimes now post short updates on my author website here, but also because I use this blog for more personal introspection, and I feel like this year has flown by at such a break-neck exhilarating speed, that I've not always had much time to just sit and reflect on things...which I miss, as I feel one essential ingredient to achieving creativity and letting your imagination flourish, is to ensure you have time to reflect and daydream.

During the last Christmas holidays and start of 2015 I let my imagination run wild, and got thoroughly lost in daydreams as I composed a secret 'Future Dreams' board on Pinterest. I love the visual worlds you can create on Pinterest and have read a lot about the power of positive visualisation, so instead of writing a list of goals for the new year, I decided to post pictures, relating to things I wanted to achieve. One of the images had the words; 'Achieve your publishing dreams: Ready to make your dreams come true? It's Time!' And four months later that time did indeed arrive! 

I also started to post pictures of nice houses, and things relating to a new home, as I knew I was going to put my flat on the market. I just moved out of my flat last week - it was on the market for most of the year, and even although I've temporarily moved back in with my parents until I find a new place, I've taken a big step in the right direction. I'm going to enjoy adding new images to my board during the holidays and it's an enjoyable way to keep focus. 
Over a year ago I also created a 'mood board' for my book Follow Me, which made the story and characters stay present and real in my head throughout the whole submission process, and it was very useful to be able to transfer some of these images onto a new board for my cover artist to access. I printed out and laminated my 'mood boards' to show pupils during a school workshop  showing them how it can help to build on atmosphere and character when you write. 

So many new, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, things have happened to me this year that I think it's going to take me some 'downtime' to actually absorb everything. I've called this post Through the Looking Glass because a turning point for me in my writing career was when I went through quite a transformational time in my life, and when I named this blog. I've mentioned this before in a previous post, but the name for this blog came to me when I was on a trip to Vancouver, and was standing looking in the window of a shop with lots of Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia. 

That trip was really important to me because it was the first time I had flown anywhere alone, and as I was visiting a friend who was living and working there, I spent a bit of time travelling around the city solo. It was also the first big holiday I'd taken since the break-up of my longest relationship to date, (even although I was well over it by then, I still felt I was going through a period of re-adjustment and was at the positive stage of viewing life as being a bit of an adventure, full of unwritten possibilities). I had also just turned 30. I returned home from that trip with a sense of determination and focus, and probably entered one of the most fulfilling and creative periods of my life. A lot of people have described my writing in  Follow Me as assured, and when I think back to the frame of my mind I was in when I started to write the book I think I was probably the most centered and creatively free I've ever been, which maybe carried into my writing.

Now I feel I've entered the next stage of my writing journey, and I'm looking through the glass from another perspective.  With every stage of the writing process there are re-adjustments, challenges and learning curves. There is a big part of me that would love to hire a doppelganger to manage my social media, events (and to do my day job for me!), to allow the 'real' writer me to go back to my daydreams and get my next book finished. 

But really, I do love the interaction part too. In my 'day job' as a careers adviser the aspect I enjoy the most is my attempt to motivate and inspire teenagers. So it was very rewarding to step inside a school, this time as an author, and see the enthusiasm from some fourth years at a recent workshop who constructed some very imaginative flash fiction stories. Talking to them about some of my earliest writing attempts when I was at school reminded me of the fire which has always burned inside of me to construct imaginative worlds and attempt to create a little bit of magic. I'm looking forward to hiding away for a little while over the holidays to drift off into an alternative world where the characters from my imagination get to lead my story again for a while.