Busy doing nothing ….

Keukenhof Flower Gardens

Once upon a time, I blogged weekly. Back then, I was in regular contact with a lot of like-minded people, visiting blogs about writing, dragons, artwork, poetry, reviewing, and myriad other topics. I’m pleased to say that I achieved recognition with ‘awards’ for my blogging, but creative writing was about much more for me.

As the urge for storytelling increased, I slowly let go of the social aspect of blogging. My posts veered more towards my personal projects and dreams of producing a catalogue of work. In honesty, I was keen to achieve success because I tend not to go into things half-heartedly. I’d enjoyed several promotions in my long military career, and I’d proved myself in retail management, my equally long second ‘career’.

How strange it is that while we’re continually pushing ourselves, we fail to recognise how to relax.

I don’t mean sit back and read a book, or take a break and go somewhere. I mean, stop, and simply make an effort to enjoy being a human.

As I said in my latest author website News, ‘at the end of last year, I set out my stall regarding my Work in Progress but as the new year dawned, I was having difficulty maintaining the flow in my primary projects.’

A few months ago, after much deliberation, I decided (with my better half) that it was time to rejoin the caravanning fraternity. It was a self-catering holiday lifestyle that we’d enjoyed twice for long periods in the past. Following plenty of research, we chose a suitable, modern, but pre-owned caravan, and we exchanged our economy-sized car for something capable of towing.

Short trips to the Scottish Highlands, the Yorkshire Moors, and a forest in Norfolk were all pre-cursors to our first proper adventure in a while. A campsite north of Amsterdam was next up, and we were happy knowing that there would be no wi-fi, no TV, and no on-site attractions, apart from tranquility, and a pleasant view.

During our ten days in Landsmeer, we truly relaxed. We paid visits to our son, his partner, and our five-month-old grandson in the city, and they visited us. Pleasant walks locally, and trips to places of interest were all done without a hint of urgency or specific timetable. We didn’t listen to the news or allow the world to break the spell, and it was blissful to spend time at the site which was never busy.

After the first couple of days, on occasion, while my wife was enjoying one of several pastimes, I brought out my Mac, finding the inspiration to continue with my primary Work in Progress. It was as I continued the story of Selena: Sea Nymph that it hit home how ‘constant’ my output had been for months. I had spent so long feeling a need to write, read, review, and support others, and it wasn’t until I stopped that I realised how much self-imposed pressure I’d applied.

I finally recognised how much I needed a rest when I was busy doing nothing.

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What have I been doing for a couple of months when not producing novels?

A couple of years ago, I created a pseudonym (complete with website and author profile) to write erotica. The choice of a female name was an experiment to see if a woman might sell the genre better than a man, and I opted to make her a single, Scottish, thirty-something.

While my regular brand has been resting, my other name has been producing stories. This is not to say that they are treated any less seriously than my mainstream work, because unlike some of her contemporaries, ‘she’ creates a ‘story’ as a vehicle for sexual adventures. Above all else, the tales are fun to write.

Following my break from reality for a while, I’m now revitalised and working on Selena: Sea Nymph. I will, of course, be planning regular short breaks for my wife and me to get away from it all, but I believe it will encourage my imagination and creativity.

Thank you as always for reading my thoughts and, of course, for any comments.

My Writing Year – 2022

For me, the start of a new year isn’t about reflecting on what has gone before, or organising my new (physical) diary, although setting that up does take a while. The first day of January for me, is a step forward from the day before, but it signals the need to have my creative house in order.

There’s something about a new diary, a new sketch pad, and, of course, for an author, a new book. I have three titles lined up and as I like to do, I’ll work through each steadily with no rush to finish anything too rapidly.

What have I got lined up?

Selena: Sea Nymph is intended to be a standalone, and however well it flows, if you’ll pardon the pun, I don’t intend to let the story tempt me into a sequel. I’m pleased to say that I have the first five chapters written and available for reading/comments in my Work in Progress menu. From Sunday, 6th February, only the first chapter will remain on view.

Crusader is a crime thriller, and will be worked on when the Selena manuscript is ‘resting’ for three or four weeks. The two books will take turns in commanding my attention. This is a system that has worked for me for a few years now.

The third proposed title for this year is Constance, which will be the sequel to Crusader. I wouldn’t normally suggest I was writing a sequel prior to the first story being written but on this occasion I’m confident that the premise will work. As you might expect, this second part will bring the story to a close.

Will I produce anything else this year?

I don’t intend any more novels during the year, and I’m still undecided about working on another anthology.

My wife and I have recently rejoined the camping fraternity with an updated set of wheels and a touring caravan. With luck and reasonable conditions I aim to spend more time mobile and on ‘research’ rather than writing.

My creative hands will continue to be full because I’ll be working for the brand produced for my pseudonym, which is seeing more attention than my work in recent times. It’s a strange feeling, to be successful anonymously. The stories are fun to write and when I last peeked at the website there was mention of a two-part novel, an anthology, and three novellas.

I’ll be reading widely as normal and beta reading for members of the IASD, but I might maintain a low profile on social media.

For now, from me, I hope you have a safe and prosperous year ahead and you read (and write), as much as you hope to.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and as Bugs Bunny would say, That’s all folks.

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