Last week I was whining about not feeling like doing anything. After I wrote that, I realized that wallowing in misery wasn’t making me feel that great. Quelle surprise! But I still wasn’t in the mood to leap out of bed to go and walk in the freezing cold at 5.30 so instead we decided to get up at 6.00 and go for a quick whizz around the block (no coffee, just brisk walking). I do not know why 6 feels more bearable than 5.30, it just is for some reason.
You see at 6 there’s a hint of dawn, even if it’s a false dawn, plus you can go to bed at 10/10.30 and still get a reasonable night’s sleep. It’s just more doable in my mind and that’s what counts.
I HAVE to walk in the morning. I walk, I do my yoga stretches and a quick Headspace meditation and then I’m ready to start the day. Things are still not great, in fact they’re pretty bloody awful but lying in my bed eating junk and watching trashy TV was not helping any of that. Rather than doing NOTHING, it’s better to do SOMETHING. It’s quite a hard thing for us to take in as humans, I’ve realised.
You see we want to see BIG changes. We want to go on diet today and be thin by the end of the week (actually, I want to just put on my gym clothes and read a copy of Women’s Health and be slim). We want to start saving money NOW and be out of debt by our next paycheck. We want to write a script in a day.
Erm. Yes, well, I do already do that. But I can only do that because I’ve been writing between 4 and 12 scripts every month for the last 18 years.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time (I did not know this was a book, also a popular saying by Archbishop Tutu).
The same thing applies when you’re writing a book. The best thing I ever read was how you should write a page a day – about 500 words and if you do that five days a week, in 8 months to a year (depending on what genre you’re writing), you will have the shitty first draft of your book. That’s how I’ve always worked in the past.
Currently, I have too much work on my plate to write a novel so what I’ve started doing is writing something else – non-fiction – a memoir. I often do this with my scriptwriting. If I’m feeling blocked on one thing, I work on something else. I got this from Sarah Lotz who said that one should always have more than one project on the go, because if one of them crashes and burns (as they often do), you’ll have something to fall back on.
You see it’s better to do SOMETHING than nothing. And if you keep on with all those small SOMETHINGS, they eventually turn into QUITE A BIG THING, but if you do NOTHING, you will only end up with a big fat pile of NOTHINGS so I will just quietly keep writing and see where this takes me.
The other thing I’ve started doing again is writing down three things I’m grateful for every morning. Usually, it turns into a much longer list than just three things and it makes me appreciate all the good things I have in my life. It might sound a bit woo-woo, and coffee and cats MIGHT feature quite extensively on my list but it really does work.
Book recommendations: The Killing Kind by Jane Casey. I pre-ordered this on my Kindle and promptly forgot that I had pre-ordered it, and then I saw everyone on the socials wishing Jane a happy pub day and thought I MUST buy her book and hey presto, there it was on my Kindle. Such a lovely surprise, and what a humdinger of a thriller. The suspense is out of this world, it’s a great page turner.
I also pre-ordered The Devil You Know which is a kind of true crime book that deals with composites of some of the inmates of Broadmoor written by the psychiatrist that treated them, Dr. Gwen Adshead and storyteller, Eileen Horne. I’m finding it fascinating and very moving but something in the intro has been niggling me and I’m embarrassed to admit it. Apparently, the U.K. has more serial killers than us. The U.S. is first (obvs) then the U.K. and THEN South Africa. How can that be possible? I’m sure it’s a mistake. Yes, it’s not appropriate for me to feel competitive about this but FFS are we not even beating Britain in the serial killer stakes??
Film/TV recommendations: I often don’t like watching the shows I’ve written on because I get highly irritated when the director’s vision doesn’t match with my own vision for the episode. That hasn’t been the case with The Estate. I am riveted by this series and look forward to watching it. On every night on S3 at 7.
I lurrrrrved the Friends Reunion show. Pure nostalgia and just what we need when we’re all feeling so bleurghhh (say it out loud, it will clear the phlegm in your throat.) It’s on Showmax, and something else that’s on DSTV is Mare of Easttown with the divine Kate Winslet – who looks like a normal, middle-aged woman and is BEYOND SEXY. Woo hoo! Very exciting. Thank you, Amy Heydenrych for the recommendation, I saw everyone talking about it on Twitter, but because it wasn’t on Netflix, I wasn’t paying attention.
On Netflix, I’ve been busy watching doccies. I watched the Amy Tan one and the Joan Didion one and I rewatched Brene Brown and Michelle Obama because I was needing some inspiration and you-can-do-it vibes. Highly recommend all of them.
That’s it for this week. We are officially in the winter of our discontent. Thanks god we only get two proper months of winter here. Roll on spring (I can already smell that jasmine) and hopefully by then most of us will have been jabbed. But for now we are in the third wave so don’t be like the people in the plane who were so thrilled that they had survived the crash they sat in their seats and burnt to death when it exploded. Keep on being careful, beloveds, we are in the home stretch now, we will get through this, in the words of the inimitable Wilson Philips: “hold on for one more day” (I have been listening to it on repeat).
WE CAN DO THIS.