Caribbean Writing: Tips From The Antilles
Not so long ago I moved to the Caribbean. You know how it is. One day you're sat in a freezing cold office furiously drinking cups of tea in an effort to get warm and the next you're wandering around your new house in next to (okay actually) nothing because sweat gets everywhere.
I've only been here month or two so I am by no means an expert but I want to document my adventures while I continue my time in the Caribbean writing my young adult novels and generally having no idea what life will bring me out here.
Let's address the elephant in the room. Obviously, it is stunning here. Every day I wake up a little more thankful than the last, and every evening I get to watch the sun set on a horizon that takes my breath away. I feel like the beauty of this place is kind of a given, but I don't want to just ignore it even if you already knew about it. I feel like the luckiest person alive living here and being able to experience such beauty.
My tip to any creative in this part of the world is to actually stop and enjoy that beauty as much as possible. For me that means pulling over on the drive home and, instead of rushing to dinner, getting my feet wet as I watch the sunset. I think a lot of things go on in noisy moments in this world -- in the screams and the whoops when things are really happening -- but the quiet moments are how we learn to truly live.
In terms of writing, I wouldn't say I'm getting more done than ever before but I am happier with my progress. Somehow the soft lighting and warm breeze has made me kinder to myself. Still determined, just so much less likely to focus on the negative things about my words all of the time. I set myself that goal a long time ago, so it's exciting to see it become a reality. What made this goal easier than any other I set? I was patient, no matter how hard it felt. I gave myself the right amount of time to complete my goals instead of a ridiculous deadline because I thought I should do it fast.
Somehow, and this seems quite impossible given my love of the sofa and pop-tarts but it's true, I'm doing more sports than I've ever done before in my life. I like the mental clarity it gives me. It's as if, after all this time since being royally dumped, the tempest in my head has finally calmed. I've never thought of myself as a particularly noisy person but there was a storm raging in my mind for the better part of three months that is fading now. It's making room for all the things I love -- stories of space pirates and extravagant magic and pineapples washed up on abandoned beaches.
I think this goes for anywhere in the world really, but I think it's so important to give yourself the mental room to process life events.
Any good writer reads a lot, eh? Well, I'm finding it harder than I thought to find books here (add that to the "Mia you literally thought about none of the practical life things you should have considered before moving" column) but that just means my kindle has become my best friend. There are always ways around things even when you don't have actual books, or the money to buy them. I'm also going to visit the thrift shop and the library later this week to see what's available. I'm so thankful for libraries! It's a way to support authors.
I've found one writing group here so far who are particularly active on social media. They don't seem to meet up -- nor are there other writing groups who do -- so in a way I feel a little isolated from writerly people but I've been doing my best to make extra effort to be online talking to other writers! I think when you're feeling all alone in the writer world you have to just get out there and tell people you need them!