Thing: we booked our "holiday" for next year. The use of speech marks is the giveaway, isn't it? I can't imagine announcing a fortnight in Italy (my preferred choice) in such a foreboding manner. No. We have committed to walking half of the Coast to Coast with some good friends next July. Now, admittedly, we have often talked about our intention to one day do the Coast to Coast - from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood Bay in Yorkshire, if you're wondering - but that one day seems to be 2nd July 2017. Eek! Literally no turning back (or I'd be walking in the wrong direction...)
At present, or should I say "constantly for the last few years of living memory with no sign of let-up anytime soon" I have been up against deadlines. Every single day I wake up with an actual or mental list of Things That Absolutely Must Be Done Today. Today is no exception, of course. I'm sitting here with my first cup of tea of the day (don't worry, the blog will improve as I move onto my second) bashing the keys of my laptop because if I don't this blog will not appear at its appointed time and on the far side of the world a butterfly will die - if I've understood the theory correctly. So, on top of all the other things that whip me round like a plate on top of a bendy stick at a circus, I've now got to fit in a training schedule so that by July I might be able to walk all day every day for nine days without collapsing. As an aside, I am rather glad to be crossing the country at its narrowest point, and even more glad that I don't live somewhere much wider.
I'm telling myself that Training is Good. The challenge to push oneself, to endure short-term discomfort for the sake of a long-term goal is worth it, surely? Isn't that what we do as writers? Putting in the hard graft, getting up early to fit some in before work, sacrificing down-time so our WIP gets finished? Daily we overcome our sense of inadequacy, our doubts that we can even do it, and just write.
November is nearly upon us. That means NaNoWriMo for me - and for some of you, too. Last year I signed up with the same kind of trepidation that I booked this "holiday", wondering what on earth I'd let myself in for. On the days I didn't quite manage the prescribed word-count I was disconsolate and beat myself up about it; but on other days with the wind behind me I exceeded it and crossed the finish line with two days to spare. Being a winner was the best feeling in the world. Sometimes, deadlines are the very things that make life wonderful.
Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. Her first novel is being prepared for submission and she is working on a devotional. She is Groups Coordinator for ACW.