Writers are solitary creatures – especially if, like me, they live at the end of a lane in the back of beyond. It’s tempting just to stay glued to the computer in your freezing garret (well, it’s not exactly a garret here but it is freezing). But this is not good for your writing or your sanity.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction or both, you need new ideas, fresh perspectives, material from real life. You don’t get that by staying in. You also need to get away from the writing itself sometimes. Staring at a blank screen or sheet of paper doesn’t help with the dreaded writer’s block; it just makes it worse. So, whether it’s taking a country walk, going to the pub (or café in my case), shopping at the supermarket, doing an exercise class, or seeing a film, it’s not wasted experience. Whether you use it immediately or not, it’s all grist to the mill.
With this new-found philosophy, I braved the icy roads and Arctic winds to go to a poetry reading at the English Library in Villefranche de Rouergue. I’m really glad I did. The reading itself consisted of a judicious selection of poetry on a Valentine’s theme (happily avoiding the schmaltzy) from Pam Ayres to Shakespeare, from the humorous to the tragic. The library itself was cosy, I met some new people and there was the added attraction of champagne and chocolates.
It has also given me ideas for several pieces so watch this space.
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