Friday, 8 April 2016

How do I get the balance?

A few weeks back I wrote the final chapter of my novel. I hasten to add I'm not especially ecstatic, more mildly pleased, as it's only draft one and I know how much editing will be required, even though, in essence, the work is complete.

It begins in December 1918, just after the end of WW1 and the novel ends in France just before the outbreak of WW2, in September 1939.  England has declared war on Germany, but France hasn't entered the war.

In some ways it would be easy to think my novel is about the inter-war years. In fact it's a tribute to the relatively few women who got the vote in 1918, and who forged ahead, in difficult times. They lived and worked through The  General Strike, The Depression, during a time when there was a lack of free health care, non universal secondary education and poor contraceptive choices. The women who voted for the first time in Britain in 1918 had to be thirty and either married or householders in their own right. In my novel the central character is Eliza. She got the vote in 1918 and succeeds with none of the advantages of modern times.

I have spent something like six weeks working on these last 20,000 words. The whole is now 92,000 + words. I am pleased to have achieved writing the novel but my social life has gone through a down turn, I haven't been swimming for three weeks and I seem to have spent a lot of time behind a screen!

However I have managed a Creative Evening, my Writers' Group, pub quiz and Book Group. We are planning a garden party in July so we are prepping the garden in readiness. I feel I have had a busy few weeks but tomorrow - ah tomorrow - I have promised myself a day of rest. This will include a walk, sensible eating and other physical exercise, but no sitting behind a screen, growing roots through the cushions on my sofa, nor typing at my desk. Perhaps I should be like Barbara Cartland and have a secretary. That way I could dictate my novel, get up, walk around, do step ups and get fit while getting my novel written. Or maybe I could speak into a voice recorder while I'm going out for a jog. Either way there is a tension between the creative urge and the need for physical activity. One feeds the other but both areas of my life seem time consuming.

Our next plans are for the Open Studio at the end of this month. That also takes a lot of planning. Cards to label and package, bio in the brochure, paintings to be framed, prints to be made. I also plan to bake cakes and biscuits to raise a little for the Cancer Unit at the RUH. It's all laudable, creative planning. But again it doesn't help me keep fit!

Perhaps I need to invent some form of exercise I can do while planning other things. But in order to invent a new form of exercise I will have to sit down and come up with some scheme. Back where I was. The tension between brain activity - or creativity - and physical activity. I am physically lazy but mentally active. How do I get the balance?

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