Friday, 28 April 2017

Notes from the Notebook: 2016 'This is new. A revelation.'

Last Saturday I attended another session of 'Seasonal Space to Write', a writing day held at a country hotel with idyllic views, facilitated by poet Natalie Scott. (If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen this post which contains more photos of the day). And it marked one year since the first time I'd attended a session there.

The following is something I wrote in my notebook while I was there ...  

9 April 2016
At 'Space To Write'.

Spread out between two rooms, comfy armchairs, a real fire crackling, sunlight through the bay window.

Everyone is quiet. Together, but silent.

No pressure to talk.
No self-consciousness.
No need to change myself.
This is what I do.
This is what we do.

This is new. A revelation. 


Sounds lovely doesn't it? Sounds new and exciting and welcome. Well ... full disclosure:

.... a few hours after I wrote that I came home cried (a lot) and thought I really ought never commit words to paper ever again!!

(If you missed that particular breakdown you can read all about it in a post of its own here!)

Just an average 'shock of the new' confidence crisis, where you compare yourself so unfavourably to every one else there it makes you question all your life choices. You know how it is ...

Not that it actually stopped me returning;  I pulled myself together, put James's shirt through the laundry (after getting my tears/snot all over it. Sorry, were you eating?). And in between that first (emotional) time and my most recent visit I've had some great experiences there:

  • the writers there were the first to hear the early version of the blurb for my book of Snipped Tales as I worked on it during the session last Autumn. The feedback I got really made me feel people might actually like the thing!
  • And I even read out one of the tales - tricky when the visual aspect is part of the concept, but it worked well nonetheless - and several people expressed a desire to become Margot when they grew up! 
  • (If you've got the book, you'll know all about Margot, if you haven't got the book ... then buy one, or two ... that way find out who Margot is and why everyone loves her, and then give a copy as a gift!)
But now that Snipped Tales is safely completed, last weekend I took a new-ish project to work on.
And, a little like that very first time, I felt a little wobbly after hearing several people read their work aloud while not having anything especially ready of my own to contribute. 

I felt a little out of place, a little awkward again and yet past experience told me the feeling would pass. I recognised the feeling ... I talked about it, then I let it slip away. My eyes, and James's shirt, stayed dry.  

And that, my friends, is what I believe they call 'progress'!  

See you soon.



Over on Instagram I'm using: #notesfromthenotebook and #juliesnotesfromthenotebook to keep my notebook-archive posts together there. 

Meanwhile, you can continue the conversation with me here, or there, and share your own notebook gems whenever you fancy:


  1. And next year you'll be wondering what you were ever worried about! So pleased that eyes and shirt stayed dry, nothing worse than mascara all over your face and dirty laundry to take home with you. And - best news of all, a new project in the works, can't wait to hear more!

  2. I remember that post from last year and my heart went out to you! There are many women, including myself, who can't get past the fear of failure, rejection, judgement- you name it! So i am not only so proud of you, i also find you an inspiration for women to be brave and move through their moments of panic - not give into them! Bravo darling girl!

  3. Glad you were able to get through it, tearless and courageous. I always liked what Marshall Brickman said, quoting Woody Allen: "I have learned one thing. As Woody says, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life.’ Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both."


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