Monday, 25 April 2011

The Simple Things in Life

It is often the simple things in life that give the most pleasure. (Admittedly, the picture of a plastic jug may be confusing you at the moment! Let me paint a picture.)

Unusually, for a British Bank Holiday, the weather has been amazing - blue skies, sunshine and a gentle breeze. For part of the weekend, I've been on Uncle duties. Now, I could have entertained my nephew by taking him to a theme park, or a tourist attraction. But instead, we placed a large plastic box on the patio, filled it with water and then threw in some plastic bottles, jugs and a few balls too. Oh ... and then I found the water pistol!

For several hours, a water fight ensued and we were all soaked through. Despite it being only water, having someone chase you with a large jug of water is guaranteed to have you screaming and laughing around the garden, whether you're two-and-three-quarters, or 40 something. And a thoroughly drenched Uncle appears to be a very funny sight to a young nephew!

So, what has this to do with writing? Well, over the weekend, a student was explaining about the difficulty she was having with her writing. It had been several months since she'd been able to write anything and, whilst she had a few ideas that she wanted to develop for some magazines, whenever she sat down to produce an outline for them, she found herself getting stuck.

If it's been a while since you've done any writing, instead of working on what you think you should be writing, do some completely different writing. Write for pleasure - go back to the simple basics. Don't sit at your desk trying to come up with an outline for a magazine article, or a short story. Take yourself off somewhere nice - with a nice pen and notebook, or a laptop computer. Go to your favourite cafe, or pub. Don't buy a coffee, buy a Iced Caffè Mocha, or whatever else you fancy. Treat yourself! Then make yourself comfortable, and people watch. And jot down what you see.

Don't worry about what you're writing - just write. Enjoy the pleasure of simply tapping away on a laptop, or running a pen along the lines of your notebook. Remember what it is like to simply write. Remember what it is like to write simply. Don't edit. Don't analyse. Just write. Take pleasure from watching the words appear before you as you describe your surroundings. Whether it's watching your fingers press those keys, or enjoying the feel of the nib rolling against the paper, enjoy the action of writing. There's no official market for these words. No one else will read these words, except you. You are simply writing for you. 

Rekindle the enjoyment of the simple things in life.

Good luck.


  1. Thanks for a lovely inspiring blog Simon!

    I think we are all guilty of getting too tied up in writing for a purpose instead of for the pleasure of it. Writing for purpose and a specific audience is of course important but if we don't love what we do why do it?

    We all need reminded to take those moments to just write for the love of it.

  2. Oh yes! That;s how I used to write my journal - at all times of day, wherever I happened to be. Since my daughter's been sleeping in her own room it's become a slightly grudging task at the end of the day, and still I'm writing with a reader's eye.
    I shall take your good advice and get back to enjoying my journaling - then maybe all the work someone else will read will come easier. Here's hoping.

  3. Excellent advice as always, Simon. I do hope there are photos of a soaking wet Uncle Simon! I'm going to take your advice and go and sit in a cafe. A little bit of what you fancy ......'

    Julie xx

  4. Thanks a lot for the advice. I needed to hear this, for I too have been in a rut for several months. You are the best.