(by Jan Cascarini).
How many times have I said to myself, ‘Tomorrow… I’ll start writing tomorrow, once I’ve got this out of the way’? This, of course, being anything from emailing the phone company about a discrepancy in my latest bill to spring cleaning the entire house. (Needless to say, the house is only ever cleaned in fits and starts.)
This time of year, when bulbs are pushing through the earth and birds have begun carrying beaks full of nesting material up into the guttering, I find particularly problematic because I have an allotment. It’s right next door to my house and constantly vies for my attention. Already my seed potatoes have arrived – far too many and I know planting them all will probably kill me. I look out of the kitchen window at the brambles beginning their annual march; will I win the battle with them this year? Well, I know the answer to that one.
I should have given up the allotment last December, but no, I paid the fee instead. And then I ordered five asparagus plants. Asparagus! It’ll take about three years before I can even think of harvesting one spear from each plant. How long do I imagine I’m going to live?
There was a time when I took myself in hand and applied myself seriously to the business of writing. I set my teasmade for six o’clock every morning and worked in bed for a couple of hours or more. I was on the R.N.A.’s New Writers’ Scheme, and although I didn’t finish my novel by the deadline for sending it in, I did manage to get up to 57,000 words. I still have the manuscript and am still mulling over the helpful critique I received and pondering ways of changing the story around. For anyone with a burning desire to write and a headful of plots and characters, the N.W.S. is brilliant. Most areas of the country have their own R.N.A. chapter whose members are an invaluable source of support and information.
But when all is said and done, support, feedback and encouragement are little good without the determination to just sit down and get those words onto the page. Will I manage to put temptation behind me in 2016? Will I resist the siren call of seed catalogue and garden centre? Or is this year destined to be nothing more than a repetition of the triumph of hope over experience? Watch this space…