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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Coasting Through Life? by Janey Clamp

At the weekend, Mr C and I did a Very Rash
Thing: we booked our "holiday" for next year. The use of speech marks is the giveaway, isn't it? I can't imagine announcing a fortnight in Italy (my preferred choice) in such a foreboding manner. No. We have committed to walking half of the Coast to Coast with some good friends next July. Now, admittedly, we have often talked about our intention to one day do the Coast to Coast - from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood Bay in Yorkshire, if you're wondering - but that one day seems to be 2nd July 2017. Eek! Literally no turning back (or I'd be walking in the wrong direction...)

At present, or should I say "constantly for the last few years of living memory with no sign of let-up anytime soon" I have been up against deadlines. Every single day I wake up with an actual or mental list of Things That Absolutely Must Be Done Today. Today is no exception, of course. I'm sitting here with my first cup of tea of the day (don't worry, the blog will improve as I move onto my second) bashing the keys of my laptop because if I don't this blog will not appear at its appointed time and on the far side of the world a butterfly will die - if I've understood the theory correctly. So, on top of all the other things that whip me round like a plate on top of a bendy stick at a circus, I've now got to fit in a training schedule so that by July I might be able to walk all day every day for nine days without collapsing.   As an aside, I am rather glad to be crossing the country at its narrowest point, and even more glad that I don't live somewhere much wider.

I'm telling myself that Training is Good. The challenge to push oneself, to endure short-term discomfort for the sake of a long-term goal is worth it, surely? Isn't that what we do as writers? Putting in the hard graft, getting up early to fit some in before work, sacrificing down-time so our WIP gets finished? Daily we overcome our sense of inadequacy, our doubts that we can even do it, and just write.

November is nearly upon us. That means NaNoWriMo for me - and for some of you, too. Last year I signed up with the same kind of trepidation that I booked this "holiday", wondering what on earth I'd let myself in for. On the days I didn't quite manage the prescribed word-count I was disconsolate and beat myself up about it; but on other days with the wind behind me I exceeded it and crossed the finish line with two days to spare. Being a winner was the best feeling in the world. Sometimes, deadlines are the very things that make life wonderful.




Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. Her first novel is being prepared for submission and she is working on a devotional. She is Groups Coordinator for ACW.

9 comments:

  1. RI am so glad the butterflies are safe. Love this post. I admire your determination and grit. I may not be joining you on your trip across the country but I'll see you at the start line of NaNoWriMo

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. Really looking forward to NaNo this year. I've got a story that needs to be told.

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  2. If you haven't read Simon Armitage's books about his walks along the Pennine Way (Walking Home) and the Cornwall coast (Walking Away), you must. They are funny and beautifully written.

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    1. Ooh, I haven't heard of him. I suspect he may not have heard of me either at this point.

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    2. He's a fairly well-known poet, but even if you're not into his poetry, his prose writing is fab.

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  3. You are an inspiration, and you make me laugh. Thank you for both of those things. I look forward to hearing how the training's going!

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    1. Yay! Middle-aged cardigan clad woman does it again!

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  4. Oh wow, well done you Janey! I know it'll be hard work, but what a fantastic experience you have signed up for.

    PS And I'm really looking forward to doing NaNoWriMo with you this year - yay! x

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    1. Seriously, I wanted Italy, I'm not lying - not even next to a pool. *sigh*
      I'll follow Fran's "advice" and turn it into a bestseller. Then I'll go and live in
      Italy...

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