Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Perfect Writing Break


Yesterday my husband and I came home from our holiday in the Lake District. It's our fifth visit and, as always, we wonder how this beautiful place escaped our radar in the years preceding our first holiday here eight years ago.

Apart from one year, when we rented a cottage in Troutbeck, we have always stayed in the same row of slate miners' cottages just outside the tiny village of  Chapel Stile. Each year, we think of staying somewhere else but the truth is, we just can't imagine anywhere being as perfect (and the view of Lingmoor Fell from the bedroom window would be hard to beat).

We discovered this gorgeous graveyard tucked away on one of the footpaths leading out of the village and couldn't believe we'd missed it before (have I mentioned I love graveyards?)

I have to admit, we are rather unimaginative in our walks. We have our favourites which we never tire of: The Langdales, The Wordsworth Walk around Rydale, Ambleside  to Troutbeck over Wansfell, and one from the perfect little village of Elterwater. Each year, we revisit these then try one or two new ones. I hate heights so our walks are mid-level and scenic rather than high and vertigo-inducing (just hearing the words 'Striding Edge' brings me out in a cold sweat!)

This is the third year we've visited the lakes in April and I think it is probably my favourite time of year: daffodils are everywhere, the fields are full of lambs and the changeable weather makes every day different. We were a little worried about how Bonnie would cope with the long walks, as she is getting a little older, but we needn't have worried - I tired long before she did!

I celebrated my birthday while we were away and one of my presents was a FitBit. The reason I wanted one was to help me walk the 10,000 steps recommended each day for good health. As writers, we sit for long periods of time and this particular model vibrates if it senses you haven't walked for a while. Of course my first week was a little exceptional as we were walking between six and eight miles every day. In fact, I walked enough steps to earn a 'Marathon Badge'... whoo hoo! I mustn't get too excited though as it will probably never happen again. I suspect my FitBit is going to be very disappointed in me next week once I get back to writing again.

It's been a busy time for me recently with the excitement of finding an agent and doing the first round of novel edits alongside my magazine stories. With this in mind, I made the decision to have a complete writing break while I was away. For the first time, it didn't make me feel guilty. I know now that these breaks are good for me.

So it's back to work with recharged batteries, a head full of stories and memories of the beautiful fells and lakes. I'm missing them already.

37 comments:

  1. As you know I adore the Lake District too! Funny - during the war my dad as a child was evacuated to a cottage just outside Chapel Stile...
    We usually stay in a different place every time and explore different areas of the Lake District. I love every inch of it but unlike you, I always want to get up to the tops!

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    1. I'd love to know which cottage that was, Kath. We always think we should try a different area but we just love it here so much, it's hard!

      I suspected you might be one of the people we see as tiny dots high above us on the fells - as I know you are a keen skier (that scares me too!)

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  2. I found you through #SundayBlogShare - writing breaks are definitely a good thing. I have a FitBit too (mine doesn't remind me to get up every hour but it judges me if I don't.) I found that getting up every hour from writing to clean something, throw in a load of laundry or make a snack seems to satisfy my electronic overlord.

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    1. Lovely of you to visit, Tracy - do please come again. I love the fact that your FitBit judges you - it's obviously enough to get you up! am hoping mine will too.

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  3. I think we have exactly the same fave walks, Wendy. Lovely post and now having read this I definitely want to go back in the Autumn :)

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    1. It has to be done, Tracy... it has to be done :-)

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  4. What a lovely time you had. I need a holiday - even though it's not that long since I had a weekend away. My son's off to Lanzarote next week, and while I don't want to go there paricularly, I do think a week somewhere would re-energise me.

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    1. Hope this has spurred you on to organising something 😊

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  5. I love the Lake District too, Wendy. Really enjoyed your blog, strangely enough it induced very relaxed feelings! So glad it recharged your batteries. Thanks for sharing x

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    1. Thanks, Julia. Glad you found it relaxing.

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  6. We have always loved the Lakes. They were the only place where the children were happy to walk and picnic in all weathers. I really envy you! Glad you had such a good time.

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    1. Sadly, I only discovered the Lake District after the children had grown up and stopped coming on family holidays.

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  7. I've only seen a tiny corner of the Lake District (a bit with no lakes in!) and would love to go back.

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    1. You have a camper van - you have no excuse!

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  8. A lovely post, Wendy. We don't visit the Lake District as often as I'd like but love it there when we do. If I tell you my family home was called 'Ambleside', you'll guess how much it meant to my parents who often holidayed there.

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    1. Oh, love Ambleside - had my birthday meal there.

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  9. I'm the same with walks, Wendy - no heights for me! Glad you had a good break.

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    1. Lovely thank you, Helen. I wish I was there now.

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  10. Glad your break re-energised you. Remember the old adage about all work and no play? We all have to go and play sometimes and get away from those screens.

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    1. I'm getting better at it and no longer feel guilty when it happens.

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  11. Only been to the Lakes once, when I had my first experience of carriage driving, up above Ullswater - fantastic views. Walking days have gone, although maybe I need to find a FitBit for my wheelchair.

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    1. Carriage driving? Now that sounds interesting, Roland.

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  12. Many years ago, when I was pregnant with our first son, we went to the Lakes. The weather was horrendous - hurricane force winds, and horizontal rain (it WAS November!) and we did a lot of sitting if cosy cafes and pubs. On venturing out to look at the end of Ullswater one particularly stormy day, a land rover with an empty boat trailer screeched to a halt next to us, and a man with binoculars leapt out. His words? " you haven't seen a mirror dinghy with a red sail, have you? There's nobody on it!" You prompted the memory with your blog, and I'm halfway through writing a story about it now! Thanks for the reminder Wendy!

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    1. Brilliant - you'll have to let me know what happens to the story. Good luck!

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  13. I too love the Lakes, though husband says it always rains there and we have enough of that in Scotland! I'm hoping to go back for a few days at least. A complete rest and break from writing is a very good idea Wendy - you'll be recharged and ready to go now.

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    1. We've been there five times now (April and May) and have been lucky to have only had rain on the odd occasion. We were there in a heatwave a few years ago - now that was hard when climbing hills!

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  14. Lovely, and I so envy you! Walking in beautiful surroundings is one of life's pleasures - alas, as I've had terrible knee problems this year I can hardly walk anywhere, and my husband has permanent disabilities as far as mobility goes, but it's good to look at pictures.... and hopefully I'll be able to get as far as the park by summer!

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    1. It certainly was beautiful. My husband has knee problems but strangely the walking seemed to help.

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  15. Agree it's such a beautiful time of year, Wendy. Glad you found time to relax and enjoy your break. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Rae. We always love it there.

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  16. It looks beautiful. I always feel energised too when I get back to my desk after being away. I think it is because the urge to write is stronger after a break. I also own a fitbit and I find it is a great motivator for getting me moving.

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    1. I agree about the urge to write being stronger after a break. I couldn't wait to get started once I got back.

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  17. So glad you enjoyed a guilt free break. So important. What beautiful scenery you enjoyed too. And you came back with a head bursting with ideas - says it all really doesn't it! x

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    1. Two stories written since I got back - it worked!

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  18. So glad you had a lovely break and a happy birthday, Wendy. The Lake District is one of my favourite places for its astounding beauty and peace. Wishing you a very happy writing week and hope you fit in your 10, 000 steps! xxx

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  19. Sounds lovely, Wendy - it's always good for the soul to have a complete break :-) xx

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