I know how hard it can be to get started again after a bit of a lull. I moved country six months ago and the preamble to leaving (the will-we-won’t-we thing followed by the when-will-we thing) seemed to devour the best part of a year – whole!
The upshot of this is that now that the first set of visitors have left and Christmas is over with, I am left with what feels, at last, like ‘my new life’. It is more than a year since I published my last book (the fourth edition of Career in Your Suitcase). In the last almost-30 years I have churned out 30 books so it feels a bit weird not to have a book on the go – yet. It is more than a year since I ran a writing workshop from my home. As this too is something I ‘normally’ do three times a year minimum, it feels weird.
However, the longer time went on the more I doubted whether I should do another workshop, whether I was still any good at it, whether anyone would come and whether I’d like doing it. I know, I know, I ran a workshop at the Phuket Paradise Writers’ Retreat last November. And I ran them in KL, Singapore, Miri and Brunei earlier last year, but none of those was from my own home.
The longer my hiatus went on, the more my procrastination deepened, but then, in January I decided to bite the bullet, set a couple of dates, joined the British Women’s Club so I could put an ad in their newsletter, told the company spouse association, made a Facebook event and told all the new folk I’d met since I arrived. [Just in case you did not realise, that last sentence was a quick lesson in how to market a local workshop!]
Anyway, this week I had a full class of eight students! That is the first time ever, in a new posting that my first class was full. I was ecstatic. I realised that people did want what I had to offer after all.
The upshot of all this is that I loved every second of the day. My students were amongst the most talented and inspiring I have ever met and I realised, again (doh!) that I really do love doing this.
And why am I telling you this? Because often when we lose motivation and stop doing something, for whatever reason, we end up never doing that thing again when actually we loved it. We find a million excuses and question things we never used to question at all.
Some writers get out of the groove of writing poetry. Some get out of the groove of writing long letters home. Some stop blogging and some stop writing articles or books. I stopped teaching. I was foolish. But by being mindful of how each stage of the process made me feel, I realise that no, I don’t much like the selling part of it and really don’t like having to tidy the room and get it set up, but I did enjoy making the lunch and boy oh boy, I adored meeting everyone and ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’, which has been my motto for over a decade.
If any of you are feeling listless, demotivated and less ‘writery’ than usual, my advice to you is to get back on that horse – you know, the horse you once used to ride and love. Remind yourself how much you used to delight in the feeling of the wind in your hair? Okay, you get the message, I didn’t need to go all metaphorical and poetic on you. But please, for your own sake, don’t stop doing what you used to do just in case you actually loved it.
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