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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

How writing too much left me floating down a river… A look back on July #amwriting #writerslif

Who stole July?! It’s gone by in a flash. It’s been a busy one. The motto for this month seemed to be: ‘The comeback is always stronger than the setback’. I was feeling great, writing regularly, and even managed to do some more work on pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Firstly, I attended the Freedom Project’s special celebratory event, which I posted about here.

The following week it was time for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, in Harrogate, which is a true highlight of every crime writer’s calendar, not to mention readers, bloggers, publishers, agents, publicists… 

Once home, I was eager to push on with my writing. Being surrounded by so many fabulous authors had been inspirational! I set myself a deadline and started a new regime of writing to a timer – 20 minutes writing, 20 minutes off, and repeat. The results were startling and for four whole days I hit 3000 words a day – and then I crashed and burned.

Sadly, it looks as if I’ve pushed a bit too hard and taken a little too much on, despite my best intentions to pace myself. Once again my body has decided to remind me of the ‘hare and the tortoise’ fable (sometimes it’s positively screaming at me: ‘You’re a tortoise!!!!!! Quit fighting and accept it!’) and I’m forced to slow down. So, here I am again, gathering my strength, regrouping, telling myself not to be scared, reminding myself that no matter how long it takes, I will get there eventually. Yesterday one of my favourite sayings popped into my head, a timely reminder: ‘You can’t push the river.’ 

Isn’t that beautiful? To me it really sums up the futility of wasting energy on fear, or frustration, or on trying to push myself to get better before I’m actually ready. Some things are beyond our control and all we can do is accept the situation and float along, until we reach a point where we can start to swim because we have the strength and the lie of the land is more advantageous. We can pick our battles and win that way. But right now, I’m not going to fight the current, instead I’ll go with the flow and start writing again when I have the strength, and when I do I’ll fight the urge to push myself too hard and instead just take things steady.

I hope you all had a lovely July – here’s to a relaxing August.

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