The End – And a feeling of relief

End by Hitchster courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by CC BY 2.0

I finished my novel last weekend. High fives and glasses of wine all round. It’s gone off to my editor. Before I know it, it will be back with a myriad amendments to be made but for now, I have planted the words ‘The End’ like a flag on a mountain top.

Prayer Flags by Valcker courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Whenever I reach the end of a novel I always feel a huge sense of relief. Relief that I went to the well and there were words there to find. Relief that I had an idea and a half decent novel emerged from it. Relief that those characters that I thought about and worked so hard to create have taken on lives beyond those I imagined for them. I gave them wings and away they flew. Relief that I can still do it. I can still pull it off. I can still spin a plot and weave the magic. The muse hasn’t abandoned me. Yet.

Happy by Carmela Nava courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Am I alone in my feelings of relief? I often wonder about that. Do other writers experience joy, happiness and pride when they reach the end of their novels? I am always so drained by the end of the writing journey that those feelings occur further down the road to publication. At the instant I finish and for the immediate days after, relief is all I feel.

It is not relief that the writing is over, you understand because I am always writing. There are always a dozen ideas waiting to be developed and explored. It is relief that I can still do my job. I am still a writer.

The relief comes hot on the tail of the fear that stalks me: that one day the words will not come, that the plot will not gel, nor the characters take flight. One day I will have an idea and not do it justice. One day I will not be able to capture lightning in a bottle. One day I will fail.

But that day is not today. Today I am a writer.



Permission to Fly

So, New Year, New Start, New You!?

Fireworks by Epic Fireworks courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Everywhere you look there are people telling you to be thinner, fitter, happier and healthier. They are promising you quick fixes to difficult problems. All you have to do is buy into their message and all will be well. For them, maybe. Financially. Call me a cynic but I don’t think we need any of these so called experts to show us the way. Most of what they peddle is common sense dressed up in fancy new clothes. If we stopped to think we’d probably know a lot of this stuff already and we could certainly use our intelligence to fill in any gaps.

We have all succumbed to the marketing skills of the New Year salesmen and women at one time or another. None of us is immune. They tap into the need within all of us to mark the start of a new year in a positive way. We are all keen to begin again. Whatever mistakes we made last year, the new year is a clean slate. We haven’t made any bad calls yet. We haven’t exercised any questionable judgement. We will, you know. It’s just a question of when but for the moment our slate is still shiny and untarnished.

Empty Pages 2 by Arden courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

So if we have the ability within ourselves to tackle our own problems why do we, year after year, invest in the merry go round of New Year promises the gurus make on our behalves?   I think it comes down to belief. We have the knowledge, we have the ability. What we want is to put our faith in someone other than ourselves because we know ourselves only too well, right? We want to believe in the New Year Salesperson’s spiel because if we follow what they say to the letter we won’t fail this time. We won’t be the person we were before, the one who tripped and fell, the vulnerable one, the one who started with the best of intentions but faltered when things got hard. This time we’ll be a better version of ourselves, a new version.

If you want to be thinner, fitter, happier and healthier in 2017 I wish you all the best. They are worthy goals. But I think the best gift you can yourselves for the New Year is to promise yourself you will try to be fearless. I don’t mean reckless. I mean fearless.

Youngsters are fearless by Tony Alter courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Don’t let your self doubt or your inhibitions hold you back.

There’s a whole world out there. Be fearless and give yourself permission to fly.

Take off by Daria courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0


The Power of Belief

Self-belief can be a wonderful asset for a person to have. ‘I believe in me and my abilities’ can be a life affirming and life fulfilling statement but what if, like the rest of us mere mortals, you are plagued with doubts as to your own abilities? What if your confidence in yourself ebbs and flows like a tide? If that sounds like you then I would argue that the most powerful sentence you can hear will be that spoken by another person and that sentence will be ‘I believe in you’.

Geminid Spiral by Jason Jenkins courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

When someone else tells you, either by their words or their deeds, that they believe in you it can be a powerful and potentially life changing moment. Depending on where you are in your own life, someone else’s belief can either spur you along the path you were already on or it can send you along an entirely new route you never envisaged.

I think the most powerful example of belief is when someone spots something in you that you haven’t seen in yourself. How wonderful when they have confidence in your ability to achieve something that wasn’t even on your radar. In that situation you have the chance to view yourself through someone else’s eyes and think ‘If they see me like that perhaps I ought to see myself like that’.

The times when that happens are the times when you feel as though someone has given you wings and allowed you to fly. If you stay aloft not only do you repay that person by showing them that their belief in you was justified but you also discover new things about yourself that you might never have known without a gentle push in the right direction.

Soar by Mayeesherr courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

I have been fortunate to be the beneficiary of such belief and can attest to the power that knowledge unleashes. The things I have done are things a few years ago I never would have thought myself capable of achieving.

Once the bottle of belief has been uncorked, your confidence will grow with every sip so that not only can you excel at the thing you first attempted but you carry on excelling in different ways and all because one person told you they believed in you.

Your Oyster Knife by Cris Crissman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Self confidence and self belief are wonderful attributes but the real gift is to be believed in by someone else. We should all get the chance to experience that moment but why not start the ball rolling by telling someone in your life that you believe in them and then sit back and watch them fly.