WRITING A BOOK WHILST LIVING SLOWLY
What a 6 months it’s been since Christmas! This year seems to have flown by faster than ever; The snow drops and daffodils came and went, then the magnolia and spring blossom fell, before I knew it we were walking amongst the bluebells. Now we are in the height of summer and I am still deeply absorbed in the process of creating a book.
It’s been a wonderful and challenging process and has taken more time and energy than I anticipated. I was prepared for it to stretch and push me, not just creatively but also with my anxiety levels, and it has definitely done that in unexpected ways. Some things that I anticipated being stressful were easier then I thought, but of course to replace them were new complications and challenges.
I have found it difficult to pour so much love, time and energy into something and then hand that over to someone else. I am aware that I have the tendency to want to keep control of things and I do this because it helps me manage my anxiety - of course though there are lots of things in life that we have no control over.
I have partly struggled because it has felt like such an unfamiliar way to work. With most of the creative projects I have done over the last few years I have been lucky enough to have had a lot of autonomy with the direction, look and aesthetic of the projects I have worked on, and have mostly been left to my own devices with things - which is kind of how I like it. It’s therefore been quite a big adjustment for me to work so closely with a publisher.
Actually writing the book was lots of fun as I love beavering away on something in a lot of detail and really sinking deeply into a creative process. It has been more all-consuming than expected though and I have had to let go of other goals that I had for this year. I have also had to cut back on what other projects and work I could manage alongside writing the book.
An unexpected website redesign due to technical problems and my old blog being down for more than a week, meant that the break I had been longing for over the Easter holidays was eaten up with late nights and stress. It was unavoidable though and I am really pleased with the look of the redesign.
Balancing work, writing a book and slow living:
The balance of how I grow and develop my ‘business’ alongside living authentically slowly is a constant learning curve. Often, it’s only when I realise that I am feeling overwhelmed that I know to make adjustments. Then, I can look at what things can be cut from my schedule, or what plans I had that can be scaled back. That of course means I have to compromise and sacrifice certain ideas and expectations; for example, for a lot of this year I haven’t been as actively present on social networks as I would have liked (which isn’t ideal), it also means that I have taken hardly any other freelance work because the book has taken all of my energy.
Slow living is a lifestyle first and foremost for our family, and any creative work that has come from that has been a blessing. However, when the scales start tipping so that I feel like I cannot be as present for my daughter as she needs, or that I am snapping at my family through stress and anxiety, or that I am compromising my mental and physical well-being, then something has to change.
Maybe others would juggle and cope differently? I am sure some folk would push through the work. That’s not to imply I shy away from hard work; I have definitely worked hard and worked weekends and evenings where necessary, but there is a point where we need to switch off and rest - and we need to do that sometimes even when the big pile of ‘work’ is still there. It’s easy to forget about leisure time, and if we leave it long enough, we become unfamiliar with how to spend any ‘down time’.
If I can get to the autumn and have successfully (whatever that looks like to me) written and released a book and learnt to drive (another big step for me this year) - I will feel very proud.
I am glad that the book is nearly on its way to the printers and then I can take a few deep breaths before telling everyone that it is available for pre-sale!
I am sharing the cover of the book with my newsletter subscribers later so if you want to have a sneak peek of that you can subscribe to the newsletter here.