Cheerio January, you miserable f**kheid.
Living for payday, perpetual darkness and grey gloom. That sums up the first month of the year. Thank the sweet lord we are a good skelp into February and have been gifted a few brighter days. The only good thing about shite weather and being skint is having plenty of time to write. I’ve got a bundle of new poems that I’ve been tentatively rolling out across open mic nights here and there.
Starting a new job has kept me busy and out of trouble. I missed a few submission deadlines that I set last year, but made the one I really want to get published in, so I’m not giving myself a hard time.
For once, I’m taking advice from a friend, who rolled her eyes when I divulged all my plans for writery world dominion. She simply said “Why not just enjoy it for a while?” to which I replied “Eh???” like it was the most bizarre suggestion I’d ever heard. It made me really annoyed at first, because I was in full-on nextnextnext mode and seriously thinking about applying to do a PhD.
However, with hindsight, I see that she may have a point. I’m not running straight on to the next thing. Yes, I now have a third job (I don’t include writing as a job…yet), but it means that I can pare back on the late shifts and it will grant me the financial freedom to go to Poetry festivals and workshops and writing retreats. I need to stop comparing myself to others and focus on my own shit. When I’m able to do that, I can see how far I’ve come in just over a year. I can also let go of not being published in print and stop using others as a measuring stick where I always come off worst.
I am writing. Perhaps not as much as I’d like to be, but I am writing new stuff. I am writing something most days, or editing. People are asking me to come and do things. I get the odd paid gig here and there. Surely that’s good enough? It is most days, when I let go and allow it to be. I’m slowly accepting that I can’t write everything and do everything all in the same minute.
That is exactly it. Enjoy the journey. Sometimes, I get little signposts from the universe. I’d read new work at an open mic night in January. It was not my usual fare, I’m okay with reading out the funny or angry stuff. Serious subject matter or anything new that makes me feel vulnerable, I struggle. The day afterwards, I got this message from someone who was at the open mic:
Hiya! I saw you at the performance night last night and I just wanted to send you a wee message to say how amazing I think you are. Me and my pal were dying laughing at your poem about cleaning and we haven’t stopped saying hashtag fuck the hoosework to each other since then. You’re a star and even though you were only on the stage for a few minutes your kindness and beauty really shone through. Keep doing what you’re doing because the world is a much better place with people like you in it x
Yes, it made me greet. I read it when I am questioning myself. I make a point of telling other people how much I enjoy their work. Sometimes, we can be the light that brightens a person’s day – no matter how dark the weather gets. Cultivating gratitude is important. I am a part of loads of great things coming up – check out my events page for details. I need to remember to be more like Zen Dog and just enjoy the ride.