A few weeks ago, it suddenly hit me that I had no real idea of what I was doing. This isn’t uncommon for students, of course. But it started to worry me because I thought that there was more I could be doing to reach my goal of being a novelist. More worryingly, I realised that I had absolutely no idea where to begin.
I sat there and thought about how much I want to write, and how I have so many assignments for university due in, and how I needed to do this and that, and it all started to give me brain ache. My problem was that I was thinking in an ‘all or nothing’ mind set. I couldn’t see that every little thing you do can help whether you realise it or not. Once I turned off the light and laid on my bed, just thinking about all these things that I have to and want to do, I thought about how much I could have used someone to talk to. I have made friends whilst being at university, but I don’t quite feel that I am close enough to any of them to truly confide in them. That can feel quite lonely sometimes, but there is no reason it should feel lonely. I’ve always found that the company of others is never truly satisfying anyway.
I looked up at the ceiling, and I pretended that there was someone up above that I could talk to. Bizarrely, I ended up talking to my cat. *She’s crazy* you’re all thinking. Well, I have a reason for this. When my cat, Holly, was still around, she always seemed to know when something was wrong. She had these instincts that meant she could pick on things far better than any of my family ever did. I’d come home after a truly rotten day, chuck my bag on the floor, sit down, and she’d be right there. She’d either sit next to me or on my lap, all because she knew I wasn’t okay. It was so incredibly comforting.
And I’d find it useful to talk to her because she would just listen. She couldn’t reply verbally, being a cat, but she’d reply in other ways,by rubbing her face against mine or curling up on my lap. But even with this, in a sense, talking to Holly was like talking to my self. Sometimes it helps to just TALK, not having someone give back unsatisfying advice or comfort, but to just have them listen and respect everything you say for what it is.
So in that moment I chose Holly to talk to, and I thought that there is always a way to do everything. “Other people have got their degree or become novelists, so why can’t I? I just need to try to think of what I can do about it right now.” I said. I started to make little plans. “I’ll do this assignment because it’s due in first, and then I’ll do that one on that day, and then that will be that unit done so then I can read that book for that day….” and so on. It really helped. Talking things through with someone who couldn’t reply helped me to make smaller plans, which all add to the bigger plan I have.
I still have no idea whether this will help me become a writer. It must be better than nothing. I’m starting to wonder whether anyone really knows how to do that. But I know now what to do when there is too much on my plate and it all feels a bit too overwhelming: lie down, talk it out, make lists and keep doing everything I can to get to where I want to be.
I hope this helps in some way. Give it a go and see whether this helps you.
From the young M.A.Garrett