Rowan Coleman: a fresh start in spring
PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 March 2018
The first shoots of spring remind Rowan there is always a fresh chance to get things right
Spring is in the air at last! On my way through Bloomsbury yesterday I saw crocus pushing through the grass, and there’s the faintest smell of summer.
I like winter. I like dark afternoons and cosy evenings. I really like the excuse to binge on carbs. But when spring is on the way I’m happy. Time to get outdoors again, listen to birdsong, watch the trees blossom and the tulips bloom.
And spring is a great reminder that there is always another chance to get things right. In my line of work (yes, writing novels is work) I have a lots of goes at getting it right.
I start with ‘draft zero’, the first draft of the first draft. It will be too long, too full of irrelevant detail and probably soggy in the middle, but once I’ve slugged my way through, I’m ready to start on drafts one, two, three four and five.
For my latest novel The Summer of Impossible Things it took nine drafts, and about 70,000 words cut to get it right.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could draft and redraft our lives until we reach perfection, I sometimes think. Tweak the beginning, alter the romantic thread, make that key life decision differently. Sadly, in so far as we understand space and time right now it’s impossible to go backwards, but the good news is it’s never too late to draft what’s next.
Now is the time to decide what you want tomorrow to be like. From walking an extra 10 minutes or spending time talking to your partner instead of watching Netflix, what would you like to do differently?
For me it’s about work-life balance. I work very hard. I’ve been working very hard for a long time, and that means often being away from home. I miss bed times, and bath times and being woken up at 3am for a chat. I miss walking through woodland, daydreaming, staring out of train windows, reading a really good book, painting.
Spring reminds me how important it is to not let those things – the often quiet moments – slip by. They might seem less important than the times when you are working hard, building a future and meeting a deadline (or not), but the moments of downtime, of closeness, and serenity are the moments that truly build a life. They are the moments that we will be remembered for, the moments that matter.
So turn over a new page, open a fresh document. Consider your tomorrows and ask yourself, what do I want to happen next?
Best-selling novelist and mum-of-four Rowan Coleman shares the chaos and comedy of her life in the county every month