The new term is well underway: homework is piling up for my kids and deadlines are piling up for me; schools are getting in touch to book in visits; students are emailing me to chase marks and reports on assignments. In short, the summer is over and it’s Back to Life, Back to Reality.

I had a funny summer. Things had happened which had forced me to take a break from writing. I was, frankly, beginning to worry that I would never be able to find the focus to write again.

But the thing about being forced to take a break is that often the mind uses that time to mull things over. As the wise philosopher, Winnie-the-Pooh says:

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

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This is what I did for a large chunk of the summer. I sat and stared out to sea. I sat and gazed downstream and let my mind drift along with the current. I climbed a cliff and let my eyes follow the line of the horizon until my vision blurred and I wasn’t really seeing anything any more. I let my thoughts meander through meadows and linger in leafy lanes.

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It turns out Pooh is right about this too:

“Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do it go where they can find you.”

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In taking time out, and letting go of the panicky feeling of writer’s block, I seem to have freed up a bit of space in my head. I am now writing again. It is a fantastic feeling, to be itching to get to my keyboard every day, to be desperate to scribble down the next idea or snatch of dialogue.

But I have learnt something this summer: that there really is a value beyond measure in Doing Nothing. And so I intend to find space for that – even for a few moments – every day from now on. I hope you can too.

Happy new term, everyone. And happy dreaming!

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