This is the first of my *proper* post-Festival of Writing blogs, so I thought I'd begin at the beginning. After all, it's a very good place to start. (Yes, I'm mixing my references, but it's my blog so I'll do what I want.)
On the Saturday morning, the first event was a keynote address from Adele Parks. Now, I must confess, I have never read any of her books, but I will be making the effort to. She spoke about her journey to being the successful published author she is today, and was a compelling speaker. There was one small point in particular that really resonated with me, however, and that was when she talked about her writing dropping off for a little while because she became too comfortable in her life as it was.
In the last six months I've gone from being really fired up about my writing and its potential to completely avoiding adding anything to the story. Before going to the Festival, I actually said to myself 'If nobody's keen on this one, I'm just giving up'. (Thankfully, someone did like it, but that story's for another day...) I thought this change in attitude came because I was being realistic - if I hadn't found any success so far, was it really likely to happen? Might as well just call it quits and not bother any more.
No! I had such a lightbulb moment last weekend when Adele Parks said those two words, "too comfortable" - that's exactly the problem I've been having! I enjoy my day job, which is more than many people can say. My little flat is really nice, and I like living where I do. The rest of my life is pretty good, and I don't have many worries about what I'm going to do or how I'm going to improve my situation. Sounds cushy, right? Not as far as my writing is concerned. For many people, maybe there isn't such a thing as "too comfortable", but for any artist there's got to be some sort of friction, some kind of working edge that's pushing you on to create, to change the world as you see it.
So, if my life is comfortable, how am I going to keep bringing myself back to my laptop and writing? I think an awareness of the situation will definitely make a difference - then, when I am coming up with endless excuses not to write, I can find a way to squash those excuses and just keep at it. Making a list of reasons why I write and why I want my novels to be published is another way I'm trying to keep myself going. I'm still riding high on the positive atmosphere of the Festival, so right now it's easy to write, but when that dies off I'll have to keep reminding myself that my life shouldn't be comfortable until I run out of stories to tell.