The irony is that I’m writing my summer update whilst wrapped up in a blanket trying to keep warm on a cold, winters day.
Summer seems like such a long time ago.
But what a summer 2018 was.
Day after day, week after week of glorious sunshine, eating breakfast in the garden each morning and forgetting what it felt like to have to wear a big coat each day.
Sunshine makes everything feel so optimistic, which included my writing.
I experienced a real surge in two projects that I was working on.
A new radio play and a new stage play which I was developing through my placement on the Liverpoool Everyman Theatre’s Playwright Programme.
What better way to spend a week than hiring a glorious, spacious house in picturesque Norfolk with three wonderful writing friends and nothing but friendship and words to keep me company.
I’m a huge fan of writing retreats as I find it difficult to switch off if I am at home. So to get away from it all and to only think about my current writing project was much needed tonic.
I also didn’t realise two things. How flat Norfolk is – and how much sleep I needed to recharge my batteries.
Later in July I had my final feedback session from Liverpool Everyman.
It felt sad to be finishing this fantastic development scheme and I feel very much like I’ve learnt so much along the way. The introduction to some prolific and brilliant playwrights through their reading list has been a real highlight for me.
I’d decided to take the whole of August off from writing to recharge my batteries.
I’d made the important decision to fill my well with watching theatre and reading.
I couldn’t imagine the power of giving myself permission to just take some time out and not write for a month.
Normally I give myself such a tough time if I haven’t written anything for a few days, so having already planned this down time meant that I didn’t give myself shite for a few weeks.
I saw the fantastic Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in the West End which gave me an injection of life and excitement. What a brilliant, uplifting and inspiring play. The first time I have leapt to my feet just before the final chopped to give the cast and creatives a much deserved standing ovation.
September started with the three-day London Screenwriters Festival and alongside doing that I crammed in more theatre shows.
An Adventure which was an epic three-hour affair at the Bush Theatre and Little Shop of Horrors in the Regent’s Park Outdoor Theatre. Talk about a complete contrast in genre, theme and tone.
Screenwriters Festival highlight for me was every session led by Scott Myers. His delivery of screenwriting craft is both eloquent and easy to follow and I had a real break-through on a project that I’d shelved for a number of years.
Half a day with Scott and his in class exercises on character gave me a new theme for my feature idea which I hope to execute in 2019.
I’d also started running again this year.
During the summer I continued with Park Runs each Saturday morning which have been incredibly helpful for my mental health. I also joined a local running group to keep the momentum going.
Running is a lot like writing in that it is an isolating activity but if you can find other participants then you can form a tribe and really encourage each other.
I can’t emphasise how important it is to find your tribe. Whether it be writing, running or any other interest that you have. Being able to share the journey with like-minded people feels powerful and accountable.