Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A new beginning? - John Dougherty

New Year’s Eve. A time to reflect upon the year that’s gone; a day to hope for the year ahead. It’s only fitting that the final Awfully Big Blog Adventure entry of 2008 should be one which draws lessons from the events of the last twelve months; which looks at the highs and lows of the year in children’s books; which makes cautious but perceptive predictions about the future; and which concludes with wise wishes about where we might find ourselves on December 31st 2009.

Instead, you’ve got a bloke who’s excited about his new shed.

Well, I say ‘shed’; actually, it’s more like an extra room at the bottom of the garden (which, I suppose, is why the firm that supplied it is called Extra Rooms Ltd. A little plug there; but they deserve it). Really, it’s my new writing room, which I’ve been promising myself for ages - I first mentioned it on these pages back in August. And now it’s finally here! The long-awaited much-dreamed-of writing room is made flesh (well, wood actually. A shed made of flesh would be pretty yukky, don’t you think? Rather over-extended the metaphor there. Sorry).

Anyway, the point is that now I finally have my retreat, my little place all of my own where I can give my imagination free rein, uninterrupted by postmen and double-glazing cold callers, unable to distract myself with emails and the internet. Which means that this is where it gets scary.

You see, I’ve been telling myself that I’ll be a better writer when I have my writing room; that, free from distraction and able to truly concentrate, I’ll find the words pouring out and the ideas flowing. And, of course, when I’m in the house and sighing with exasperation at yet another phone call, or trudging down to the local library in search of that elusive corner of peace and quiet, it’s easy to tell myself that. But what if it isn’t true? What if the problem is actually me, and not my environment at all? What if I’ve just spent more than I earn from writing in the average year on something that will make no difference at all to my output? What if I am really just a very slow and lazy writer???

Pshaw! (Is that really how you spell that? It looks odd written down. Ah, well; no matter). Pshaw! I say again. Away with such negative and defeatist thoughts. Tomorrow dawns a new year and with it, for me, a new way of writing - or, at least, one with fewer excuses for not getting any writing done. I’ll let you know how it works out; but actually I’m quite hopeful. And excited. Which is just how it should be at the turn of the year.

Happy New Year, everyone; and to all the writers among us, old and young, rich and poor, published and unpublished: in 2009 may your imagination rise towards new horizons like the balloon of Oz, may your ideas multiply like the kin of Hazel, and may the words flow like the rivers of Narnia after the thaw.


Anne Rooney said...

A shed made flesh... like baba jaga's hut? I would like a shed on chicken legs, I must say. Can your Extra Room Co deliver that?

I know what you mean about 'what if all these are just excuses?' though I'm sure that in your case that is absolutely not how it is! There's something very intimidating about actually facing up to getting the work done since you might have to admit that, even though you tried, you couldn't do it. Much more comfortable not to have had the chance to try. But you've not got that excuse any more! Here's a to productive and happy relationship with your shed in 2009 :-)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you and your shed!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you a successful year in your Shed of Inspiration, John. I'll be reading your reports back on the solitary environment with great interest - and (today!) hope that your heating arrangements are really good.

Anonymous said...

happy new year! i love my shed ... but i often have to escape to a coffee shop to get some writing done. procrastinators never change. enjoy!

Lucy Coats said...

Sheds rool OK! I hope yours scatters inspiration like confetti from your fingertips onto your paper. An Englishman's home is his castle? Pshaw! A Writer's home is his shed.... Happy New Year! :-)

Anonymous said...

I want a shed, too, but only to put my husband in. My own dream was simply to have my own laptop, and not share a computer with anyone, and that has worked as well as I had hoped. So, good luck with the shed.

Damian Harvey said...

I'm green with shed envy here John - we spent October rearranging our garden and setting the place for my shed/extra room, but the funds have been diverted into replacing the boiler and central heating.

Have an inspired and productive new year John.

John Dougherty said...

Thanks, all, for your good wishes - and Bookwitch, what an inspired idea! If retreating to my shed doesn't work, the next move will be to go back to the house and send my family, the postman and the telephone down there...

Damian, what bad luck - hope the necessary funds come unexpectedly soon.

Oh, and Penny: I've got a little wood-burner in the writing room. My worry is that it'll be too warm rather than too cold!

Linda Strachan said...

Welcome to the shed fraternity, John. Hope you can join it soon, Damian!
My New Year's resolution is to actually make the break to get out to my shed earlier in the day and if at all possible EVERY DAY! I have found I often start replying to emails, putting out the washing, answering the phone etc and one thing leads to another while looking longingly out the window at my shed wishing I was there!

Once there it is wonderful, my own personal space, calm and inspiring. Enjoy!