“March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” – Khalil Gibran

As the UK starts to open up after what feels like an awfully long period of lockdown, it’s left me thinking what, from the changes lockdown has brought to my life, do I want to keep?

This month has been shadowed for me, as I’m sure it has for you, with the memory of that first lockdown. I distinctly remember turning to my boss that day we closed the office, the person I sat next to at my day job every day, with no knowledge of when I’d see him in person again. I hardly ever worked from home. Not coming into the office was going to be a major change for us all. “See you… online I guess?” I said as we parted ways.

That last trip home was fretful, a lot of people were on the train, no one wanted to get too close but everyone wanted to get home as soon as possible; a man sat with a massive computer monitor on his lap, presumably so he could begin working from home as all of us office workers have done since. No one imagined a year from that day. I couldn’t imagine what the rest of the week would look like.

A year on, my day was filled with just as much anxiety, this time about how I might get back out into the world. But before I do I’m keen to really think about the positives that have arisen for me personally from this experience: with theatres closed I’ve given another writing form a go and am enjoying it; with no galleries to attend my visual art skills have grown, becoming part of my weekly activities; with no commute I’ve been able to write in the morning before work which is how my novel got written, something I could never fit in before.

I’m currently reading Emma Gannon’s ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method’ recommended by artist Sharon Walters via a podcast I was listening to one rainy day. It’s about dismantling traditional ideas of success, replacing them with something more personal, working less and creating more. When you’re young, dreaming of creative success, you never think of the practicalities or the industry around the work you want to make -or at least I didn’t- and this year of opening up my own creativity as the world closed down around us, has me thinking differently. If you’ve had similar thoughts and have books or podcast or video recommendations please share them in the comments below. The world as we all knew it won’t be back for a while, and I for one want to go forward keeping what good has come out of this experience just as I want to leave behind the bad.

My novel project
I’ve spent this month developing the history of the society at the centre of my story so I can start to redraft next month. I’ve been attending brilliant workshops with Emma Darwin, author of The Itch of Writing blog. If you’re into or getting into writing I would suggest checking out her blog. She’s created a whole host of tools for a newbie novelist. The workshops I’m doing are via Blue Pencil Agency. She’s doing more later this year.

Paris in spring
I’ve also spent March ‘in Paris’ with The Art Beat Club which has been such a delight. Paris is possibly my favourite city in the world and to be set drawing activities, as if I was on a tour of interesting places across the city, has really given me a lift. Here are some of my favourite creations:

All being well, April will see me back at the novel. I’ve set myself a goal of 10,000 words to write over the month. I started writing it last April so am hopeful last year’s achievement will spur me on.

Good luck for your own re entry into the world.

Take care. Until next month!

xxx

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