Thank you so much to everyone who bought or reviewed TEN THINGS ABOUT WRITING. It will be available in Australia and New Zealand very soon, and I’ve just signed a contract for the audiobook, which I’ll be narrating myself, and which I hope will be out at the same time as the print version. And to accompany the book, I’ve been recording a series of 12-minute YouTube posts on various aspects of writing and the writer’s life, which I’ll be updating weekly. Check out the first one here!

And just in case you were wondering what I’ve been doing to relax – here I am in the greenhouse, where I have a hammock, a radio and a small but carefully-stocked bookshelf. Lockdown is a  limbo state for writers and other creators, providing plenty of time to work, but not always providing the necessary state of mind. Many of my friends have told me how difficult they have been finding it to work, or to function normally. I understand this all too well. I’m lucky that lockdown hasn’t completely flattened my creativity, but there are days when the dream machine just won’t start, and I’m learning not to worry too much when this happens, and to find different ways to get into the zone. First, gardening: a Sisyphean task in the case of my garden, but therapeutic. Second, reading (especially well-worn old favourites). Third, exercise. I’ve found a number of useful resources online, and it helps. It really does. (So do chocolate biscuits, and wine – hence, of course, the exercise.)

But if you’re struggling, if you feel that you’re still in freefall, you’re not alone. Remember that sometimes, just getting through the day is enough: there’s no need to accomplish great things or set yourself impossible goals. I’m using this as my daily goal, and I find it works for me. One writing-related task per day; plus one piece of exercise; one thing to improve my home environment; and one thing for myself. I find it’s a flexible enough routine to sustain, on good as well as bad days. And there are lots of us having bad days; and loss; and grief, and anxiety. I see it, and my heart goes out to all of you who are struggling. Take care of yourselves and those you love. When the big things seem overwhelming, try to remember the little things, which matter more than ever now. And remember small pleasures, and practise self-care, whatever that may mean to you.