Filling a page

After such a long pause in writing this blog, the blank page this morning is a challenge.  For months I have intended to restart, or at the very least plan out themes to write on.  For months I have failed.  The blog was a way to practise writing, to journal my thankfully very full life.  To spend a bit of time quietly thinking and writing about those thoughts.

Sitting at a laptop and writing was an antidote to travelling, moving, seeing people, generally being out and about and speaking and listening.   This was my time to get thoughts in order and to exercise discipline on word count and exclamation marks, knowing that I overuse both.

Then life became full of reflection but lacked stimulation.  I thought nothing new, and so had nothing new to say.   I was exhausted and hollowed out by video conferencing, which enables some conversation, but not enough communication to inspire my creativity.  I was fed up of news and analysis and talking about my very small life.  Mostly I was avoiding judgement, trying not to judge other people for their choices and feeling worried that people were judging me for goodness knows what.  

My inability to write a blog became evidence of my lack of ability to think properly.  It emphasised how small life was.  And I was scared of writing something and being judged. 

Slowly but surely I am emerging from that worry and that feeling of having nothing much to say.  At last the page has words on it.  Now to delete a good proportion of them.

Change of location

A while back I wrote about finally getting a desk sorted out for myself in the house. That has remained important to me. It’s a space in a family home where I am absolutely in control of the physical surroundings. Yes, that clutter is mine. In fact one of my stresses last week was that I spent a week dumping things on the desk and not prioritising sorting them out. I felt frazzled all week. Possibly not because of the state of my desk (and it has to be admitted my house generally) but that was contributing to the feeling of being a bit out of control.

Clearing it up is relatively easy – most of the clutter is now in the ‘pictures to hang’ pile. I know, I know – that is just moving the piles from one place to another. I am internally chortling as I write this though: the pictures to be hung pile is much more hidden from view. Marie Kondo would despair I am sure.

What has also been preoccupying me is the choice of the desk’s location. At the moment it is in a room with everyone else’s desk, the room where the clutter tends to build. But it is next to the window and beautifully light.

This morning I am celebrating the first blog of spring by writing this at my desk looking out of that window as it is light already. The view is of a very busy road, but that is not too bad. I am feeling connected to the world as I watch people drive by, I can see the blue sky and appreciate that Storm Freya has passed and the trees are still.

I am not convinced it makes the blog any more interesting – sorry about that, but staring out the window at a hedge is much better than surfing the internet whilst waiting for a thought to come. In case you hadn’t realised this is one of those ‘just write something and get back in the habit of blogging’ blogs. Well done if you have read this far.

Getting diverted

I was really enjoying writing something every day and then the fun went out of it.  I realised yesterday that this often happens to hobbies and pastimes.  I started this habit because it was a fun way to channel thoughts and write something I want to write before a day of writing emails and reports.  As I got more into it I overstretched, as I often do.  In this case setting up as a home for the blog. It is not a bad thing to have done, but it is something different to writing a short blog nearly every day.

Setting up a simple site is not simple for me, and I have done very little of it if I am honest, because it requires a lot of time to learn how to do it and it’s not really my passion; so it’s not something I want to make time for.   It is the husband’s passion, so he is really keen on finding new widgets or plug ins for the site, it’s always good to watch someone be excited about a project, but I need to catch up on this one.

Passion is the key though isn’t it?  Suddenly, I realised I had not written for over a week, but had had various conversations about the backend of the site instead.  In fact, I wasn’t writing because I don’t fancy setting up the site.  In a busy time in life, I don’t get any energy from something that technical, I don’t really have a passion to learn about it, I feel I ought to, but that is not the same thing.

It’s a great lesson at a time where I was tempted to overstretch in other areas of my life.  It’s a reminder to remember where the energy is, what I find fun and stay in that space until I am ready to move on. Whatever we do as a hobby it should help us to grow and give us energy to cope with the less fun stuff that life chucks at us.

So I am bringing myself back to writing regularly, instead of learning to set up a website.  But do me a favour: head over to– I will move this to its real home soon.

blue screen of death in silver black laptop
Setting up a website was nothing like this – it just felt like it (Photo by Markus Spiske on



Keeping it small

The photos that accompany these blogs are generally not mine, they are from the free photo stock on WordPress.  This is because I am not good at taking photos.  Technically the photos I take are not great , probably because I never really think to take them., so I get little practise.   I love photos and love it when people share their photos with me, but I don’t get around to taking them myself very often.  Sometimes I have a phase of taking lots of photos, and then I forget again.  I can go weeks without taking a single snap.

Every time I choose a photo to illustrate this, I regret my lack of photography and I have considered trying to take more photos as I go through my day.  In reality that is another challenge and this was about writing, not photographing, so I am trying to resist the temptation to turn this into a bigger task.  Keeping things simple does keep me happier.  My aim is to write a blog nearly every day.  That is what I am doing, so I am persuading myself to rest in that satisfaction for now.

I have a similar view of running, I don’t run very far or for very long, I still cannot get to 5k. But I run, I run three times a week, every week and six months ago I had never run before.  So that is an achievement and I feel proud of it.  The fact that I am not trying to do more is ok for me, I am getting some cardio vascular exercise, I am getting fresh air and that is all I need.

Keeping a habit easy to do feels like a key to keeping the good habits going.


Letting go of the routine

My son has just asked whether I write every day.  I try to, but do not succeed.  After a successful run of posting daily, I was feeling a bit of a failure.  Yesterday, I decided that writing a blog was not a good move, I needed to do some urgent tasks instead. Well they had become urgent, having lurked on a to do list for a while.  I had a nagging feeling that I had failed throughout the day though.

But the offspring’s question this morning was swiftly followed by another: “so how many people read it?”.  He is the generation of media users where if there are no reads or likes, there is no point.  Is this a clue to that nagging feeling of failure, am I getting swept away with that sort of thinking?  I am very grateful indeed if you’re reading this, and more so if you respond to it in some way.  I am posting this into the public for a reason, to have an audience and to feel accountable for making the piece readable.

The main reason for writing though is to have a positive habit every morning which enables me to face a complicated day having exercised my brain with something enjoyable, but still a bit challenging.  Yesterday I knew I had not let myself down, I needed to do the tasks more than my brain needed this.  Yet, I felt that I had broken the habitual nature of the exercise, and maybe I missed the interaction as well.  But, of course missing one day does not destroy a habit, it’s making sure I get back to it that counts.  Hopefully someone will read this today. And life feels a bit smoother having spent some time catching up on domestic stuff.


A little spot of mine

I have a desk.  This is quite an achievement, it’s not quite completed yet, as in, I am not convinced the desk is in the right place, but I have a desk and I am writing this at that very desk.   One of the family keeps asking me why I want a desk, one is helping to make it happen in any way he can and the third may not have actually noticed yet that I have a desk.

But the questioning interests me.  Why do I want a desk?  I have no real answer.  I have this romantic vision that it is a Virginia Woolf inspired need for a desk, if not a room, of one’s own.  Not sure it is though, as we have discussed having a She Shed in the garden, and frankly, I don’t really want one – I don’t want the hassle of having a whole room to look after and be responsible for.  I don’t really want to have to walk to the end of the garden, I don’t want to be isolated in a shed on my own, I really like my family and like having them around.  I don’t want a whole room of my own.

I do want a desk though, but why?  I own a laptop, so I can use it anywhere.  I am a clear desk sort of person, so would always clear off the desk at the end of a task – or the kitchen table, the sofa, the bed – wherever I end up doing desk-type things. So I don’t need a desk to store things really.

It may be because I have not had a desk to myself since university.  At home, we always shared a computer, until the now luxurious days of having a laptop each.  This is a luxury I still get a huge thrill about, I will never ever not appreciate my own laptop – it is an amazing, beautiful thing.  At work I job-share and have done for about 16 years now, so I have always shared my desk.  I love sharing my work desk though.  Chocolate appears and disappears in the drawers, someone else’s taste in hand cream is always exciting, it’s nice to have a note left on my desk just saying hi. One day there was a bottle of gin in the locked drawer.  The joys of desk-sharing.

Well, this has been the first time the desk has been used properly (it was a splendid stand for the Easter tree over the weekend) and I love it.   Still not sure why though.

The blog is about twice the length as the last few though, so I write more it seems.

This is the first time the photo is actually mine.  A photo-worthy desk.



PS thank you for the well wishes on Monday – all feeling much better now.



Writing slowly

Well maybe the title is misleading.  I don’t write slowly, in fact I write quickly, but I write in order to slow down.  I have discovered that posting a small chunk of writing to a blog, makes me slow down as I sit quietly and ponder and jot down thoughts. So I am a bit addicted to this way of making me feel productive, whilst still being a bit more deliberate and a bit slower in my actions.

The aim is to give myself time to think and to challenge myself to put that thinking in a more public domain.  But also to write quickly and relatively succinctly, to prove to myself that I can blog without spending hours on it.  It may indeed be obvious that this is a time challenge as much as anything.  How much can I write in the time it takes me to drink a coffee?

So far it has been a fun experiment in writing whatever springs to mind, but I am now wondering how real bloggers write so prolifically.   At some point I will need to plan out blog posts.  So, a new way of sitting and pondering and still feeling productive presents itself.  Let’s grab another coffee and get planning.




Anatomy of a morning

I love mornings, I am a lark, not an owl.  That said, I need sleep, if I have not had my sleep I cannot wake up – those are the mornings I do not like.

The morning routine is something I think about a lot.  And it is a routine which changes over the years.

Pre-children it was a short shower, breakfast, leave for work routine.  With a lot of talking to anyone alive in the house.  They did not always respond, I did not always notice this.

Offspring the elder is a similar lark, so morning feeds were sometimes in the World Service broadcasting hours rather than Radio 4 (which means before 5.20am).  The mornings were long, cuddly, busy.

Offspring the younger is a night owl, he woke late.  So, I had a year or so of a child-free half an hour or so at about 6am.  I drank tea and baked bread and listened to the radio in a blissful time.

Now they are teens, they need to up and out early, but they do not need my assistance.  How times change.

Now my early mornings can be a good chunk of time in which to do what I want. I have discovered something exciting this winter.  Getting up and doing something quiet and sedentary feels as legitimate as getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise, which seems to be the usual recommendation.  So, to soothe me through the dark cold mornings of the quiet season, I am indulging in mornings of coffee, reflection, writing, reading and prayer.  Not all of those every day, but always the coffee.   Here’s to mornings.


Why write a blog at all?

This blog is a totally self-indulgent attempt at creating a good habit.  A habit of writing.  I spend a lot of my day writing.  A huge amount of my work is spent writing emails.  Huge amount, I would guess at about 80% of my time is email writing and reading.  I ned to actually measure that I think.

A lot of my social life is spent writing.  Texts, WhatsApp, Facebook all feature very heavily in the organisation of my social life and the times in between meeting friends are happily spent writing to them instead.

And leisure time is often spent reading blogs, possibly not as many as I should, there are a lot of them out there.   But I really enjoy the ones I do read.  I enjoy the personal format, and the length of them. In just a few minutes there’s some food for thought without the reactions that news articles sometimes (often) arouse in me.  I struggle to read a news article without internally issuing a diatribe for or against that position.  I don’t watch soap operas and I think I crave that continuity of narrative about a person that soap operas give you.  You feel like you know the characters.  I feel I know the couple of bloggers I follow.  Obviously, I do not know them at all, I know their writing, but I enjoy dipping in and out of their blogging.

And I am trying to develop something – writing.  In a very boring reason for doing this – I enjoy writing, I love it actually, but I don’t actually do any just for fun.  This is my way of doing something I enjoy that is not an email nor a text nor minutes.  It’s just writing.  For the joy of it.  No one need read it, no one need react to it.  I am just writing for me.pexels-photo-257897.jpeg