This lockdown time has been stressful in many ways. The lack of liberty, not seeing friends, uncertainty about our jobs and prospects. All very bad. We have to try and find what small comforts we can. Something I have been doing a lot more of is walking. This has been partly forced since I was in a car crash just before lockdown and my car was a total wreck. The insurance paid out and then all the garages shut. Great. But aside from my weekly visit to the supermarket with a giant rucksack to stock up I have taken to a decent walk every evening. Because of where I live the choice of routes that get you out of town and away from people quickly has been very limited. Doing the same circuit, even in the amazing weather we have had in the UK over the majority of the lockdown, gets a bit dull. Also my mind tends to wander in nasty negative spirals when I walk. Unless I walk mindfully.
Mindful walking. Being aware of everything around you. Trying to see something new in each circuit of the same walk. How the blossom has changed. A beetle that you can avoid stepping on. An odd chimney pot on the house at the end of the road. I find using the camera on my phone also helps in this. I am consciously looking for a great picture out of the mundane. Patterns on stones and trees, leaves, flowers…
The focus does three things for me. Firstly it prevents the spiraling into negativity. Second it calms me when I have had a stressful day working – it may be lockdown but the 9 to 5 is now in my home office, that used to be a sacred space for my writing and is now littered with notes about work work. Finally it provides tiny details that bring my writing to life. It is the small things that people remember and make things real. I have taken hundreds and hundreds of pretty terrible photos in the search for these little details and a few of the slightly less awful ones feature here.
I have also decided during this lockdown to share the first few chapters of my first novel on here. If the readership builds up maybe I will keep releasing more. The sequel is coming along nicely and, according to more successful salesmen than me, I need to building the buzz now! Look out for the first of these next week. If you like what you see then I will make sure there are no shortages of links to the ebook and paperback.