Monday, 4 July 2011

Simple Pleasures

On Saturday morning, whilst lying in bed with the sun pouring through the half-opened curtains, I finished reading Simple Pleasures: Little Things That Make Life Worth Living. It was published on behalf of the National Trust and comprises short essays, many no more than 500 words, on what many may think are subjects not worth writing about.

Glancing down the Contents Page you might wonder what there is to write about being in the middle of nowhere, grooming the dog, running in the rain, or even the simple action of 'looking up'. But as your eyes travel along the lines on each page, it becomes clear that these well-known writers are jotting down the experience they enjoy when partaking in these activities.

A student emailed me last week, in quite a fluster, claiming that she felt a fraud because she hadn't written anything for months. Now, she was finding it difficult to write anything. "I have nothing to write about!" she exclaimed.

There is always something to write about - even if it is the frustration of not having written anything for months! But, perhaps, when we struggle to find something to write about, we struggle because we think we ought to write about something profound.

If you find yourself sitting down at your desk at your usual time of day for writing, and the words won't flow, then take ten minutes out. Think about something simple that has given you some pleasure today and write about that. It needn't be much - 200 words - if that - but enough for you to explore the thought and describe the experience that this simple pleasure has given you.

Simple Pleasures (ISBN: 9781847946416) includes:
  • A Nice Hot Bath by Prue Leith
  • A Good Log Fire by Ann Widdecombe
  • Collecting the Eggs by Jonathan Dimbleby
  • Looking Up by Lucinda Lambton
  • Bread and Cheese by AC Grayling
  • In Combe by Robert McCrum
I hope these examples illustrate the point ... the pleasure really does need to be something simple. And when you write about it, explain the experience that YOU gained from indulging in this simple pleasure.

Sometimes, the frustration of not knowing what to write about can overwhelm you. Which is ironic really, we get so much pleasure from the simple action of picking up a pen and notepad.

So, don't think too hard. Just think of a simple pleasure and write about the experience it gave you.

Good luck.


  1. That sounds like a brilliant way of getting inspired.

  2. That sounds like a brilliant way of getting inspired