When this happens you have to make a deliberate decision to change something. We do it subconsciously, it is a natural process, but those little decisions become important without us giving them so much as a thought.
Sometimes though, things are confusing. We still have to make that decision, even when it isn’t clear which way to go.
‘Some decisions are easy to make . . . some not so!’
The whole point of it was to make us think about how life would be if we didn’t make those decisions that we take for granted. The lesson here is simple:
‘If you can’t move forward, move sideways’
I am a great fan of the TV show Doctor Who. There was one episode a few years back called Turn left. In the story the series is building to a climax, and it comes down to one decision the character Donna Noble has to make in order for the future to run smoothly and the world to be saved from impending doom. The only problem is when the moment comes she doesn’t get it correct . . . she turns right . . . so the whole story becomes about saving the world from this dark, bleak future, and the Doctor and co. take her back in time and get her to realise she must turn left at that certain moment. In the end, she realises that this is so important that she has to throw herself in front of a lorry to cause a distraction which blocks the road forcing her other self, (who wouldn’t know any of this) to have to turn left at the junction up ahead.
This is sci-fi and it’s all a bit complicated and fantastic, but it makes the point of how important single decisions are and how events can change forever. Sometimes taking a wrong turn becomes the right thing to do. Distractions can be a good thing.
So why am I telling you all this?
So, I’m near the end of a long summer break, and in spite of the weather it’s been a pretty good family time together, but boy, have I had some distractions!
It started in late July when I took my family to The Lakes in the UK for five days camping with my second eldest, his partner and their children. There were fifteen of us altogether. My brother made it up from the south as well, he is quite a character. He brought some board games with him for us to play in the tents or around the campfire. Now, my kids love board games, and so do I . . . but on a camping holiday? Well, somehow he made it work. He just got everyone interested and we were all playing and talking about these strategy board games . . . there was a real buzz in the air.
When we got back home to Peterborough my kids reminded me that in another life outside writing I used to make board games and we all used to play them. So, guess what happened next. . . I found myself making a couple of games. They are quite detailed and there was lots of planning involved, but I like a challenge.
The big thing for me was realising how much technology has moved on since I last did this some 8 - 10 years ago. Those that know me will know that I do graphic design for print as a sideline business; I design my own covers and graphics for promoting my books, and so cobbling together the graphics for the board and sets of cards and then making them was a breeze. I am very pleased with the result.
This was the first distraction, but I had such a lot of fun and it was all thoroughly worth doing.
I have three boys that are quite reasonable footballers, 12,14 and 16. Right now there is a bit of a buzz going around about the game of Foot-golf. Small courses for this are springing up in our part of the world left right and centre. As a family this was something we messed around with last summer, so this year we thought we would try and do it properly. (Or at least, as properly as we could).
I found myself visiting local public areas where I knew we could create something without there being too many people around. We figured if we found three places in each location to place the flag and three starting points, we could then play each position from all three starting points and, voila, you’ve got a nine-hole mini course. So we mapped it all out on score cards and started a summer competition.
Making it, and playing it has taken quite a few hours of my time, but it is so much fun I don’t regret a moment of it.
‘Being aware of these special moments in our lives and embracing them
is key to our well-being’
I had a plan for the year, and how I was going to fit my writing around my already busy life. It was all going well until June, but then things happened and the wheels came off the cart. I found my resources for continuing were being drained away, i.e., time and money. I couldn’t finish the rewrites for my book by the end of the month, I had too much other work that would earn me money the money I desperately needed and that had to come first. I was going to need to put things on hold. The money I had budgeted for paying my editor had to go on something more important. Times are quite tough right now and I’m not going to see my kids suffer and go without just so that my book gets published sooner. All in all, the path I was travelling down had to change. Now, two months later, I am only just getting time to get back into my writing.
I needed to change what I had planned and that meant allowing things I hadn’t planned to take over for a while and embracing the opportunity they gave me for doing things differently. I got a rest that I probably needed anyway, and now I feel refreshed. Initially I felt a bit lost because I had failed to reach targets within the time frame I had set myself, but you know what . . . we can plan all we like, sometimes we still get it wrong. Doing things the model way the same as everyone else doesn’t always work. We are all different, our situations are different, and that sometimes means that quite simply, we just need to do things differently.
Sometimes, change is good
For me, it’s about doing what I can do as well as I can with what I’ve got. Circumstances have forced me to do things differently, and so that is what I am going to do. I have a plan to do something pretty unusual with my writing that is not the normal way of doing things. This is good because I won’t need any money to pay for services. I like to be a bit different, it’s sort of becoming a bit of a trade mark in lots of areas of my life.
It was sitting there staring me in the face for months but it has needed me to take a wrong turning, or, to put it correctly, take a ’different path', for me to be able to see it.
I’m not going to reveal exactly what it is that is going to be different, but, like many of my stories, there is going to be a twist. New books are on their way as previously planned but the way I am going to deliver them over the next few months is I think, going to be pretty cool.
For me now, the equation sis simple . . .
Has anything like this happened to you recently?
I'm sure it has at some point. If not, be ready, because sometimes in life change happens when you are not expecting it, and when it does, be sure to embrace it and discover out how to make it work for you.
I leave you with some prophetic words from the late John Lennon
'Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans'