am writing around obstacles

In summer 2012, here on my blog, I ran a 3-part series for my readers and me.

Its aims were:

  • to identify our obstacles to productivity; and
  • to create plans of action for getting around them.

It was a popular series. People joined in to describe the rocks on their roads, and devised individual plans of action to get around them. Or over them. Or under them. We had a good week.

I found it very helpful.

When I look back at the health challenges I’ve experienced since 2012, it’s plain to see that following the plan of action I made then has helped me get through some pretty tough times and keep going.

Obviously, my plan of action was focused on writing. As were those created by people in the comments sections three years ago. But some non-writing readers also emailed me to say they’d enjoyed the series and were applying their plans of action in various other disciplines.

It’s a shame to leave such a helpful series sitting in my archives, so I’ve decided to bring it back out into the light and update it up for you to use.

Here it is.

1. What are your obstacles to productivity?

2. How can you overcome your obstacles to productivity?

3. Drafting a plan of action to overcome your obstacles to productivity.

I hope you find it useful.

In fact, if you participated three years ago I’d love to hear how things are for you now. It’ll be good to revisit and maybe revise our plans of action.

If you’re new to the series, please feel free to describe your own obstacles and draft your plans of action in the comments sections below the three posts. You’re very welcome to join in.

And please don’t overlook all the great comments from three years ago. The success of this series was in its community spirit, and the comments sections are where you’ll find the best of the action.

Okay, so let’s get to it.

Let’s get around those obstacles and leave them behind us. :)

Hey, will you share this post all over social media for me? If you click on the post title (rather than reading it on my main page) all the sharing buttons will be visible below this text. Thanks!

My memory of paradise

memory of paradise

I’d been a sailor for years before I realised it isn’t the ocean I love, but the edges of things. Sandy beach or salt marsh. High sandstone cliff or low wooden jetty. Makes no difference. They all make me yearn for something… other.

I’m writing about edges a lot in my novel The Orphan Age. Thin places between worlds, known and revered by the ancient Celts. The ones I’m writing about are all at the edges of things.

I once spent a week on the edge of paradise.

This is my memory of it.

A crescent of fine pink sand in a tiny cove in Bermuda. High rocky walls jut out into the sea on both sides and hide it from the adjacent coves. Dense palm tree cover hides it from the quiet road 60 crunchy feet back inland. The beach can only be seen from directly out at sea, and there is seldom anyone out there in this part of the bay.

I was 28, and a stranger in the Royal Navy frigate that was tied up to a big jetty a mile away. Not one of its crew. A professional visitor, onboard for a single trip.

So when some piece of essential equipment got damaged and we had to wait a week alongside in Bermuda for the replacement part being flown out from the UK, I had nothing to do except read borrowed novels and run the quiet roads around the island.

On my first early morning run I found the hidden cove, and after that I swam there every day before breakfast and in the afternoon. I did lengths for about an hour, a steady front crawl back-and-forth between the high rocky walls, about 100 feet per length.

I swam naked that entire week, all alone, and I really was in paradise.

All alone, until the afternoon when two American women found my cove and sat on the pink sand while I swam.

I’d noticed a huge cruise liner parked across the harbour that morning. Thought nothing of it. Certainly didn’t expect anyone from it to wander so far off the beaten track and sit on my beach.

Don’t know how long they’d been there before I finished my lengths and saw them.

I stood chest deep in delicious turquoise warmth, bare feet on the sandy bottom, swaying with the water’s movement.

My towel and shorts were halfway up the beach, on the bleached driftwood log I always used, thirty feet from the water’s edge and fifteen feet from where the women were sitting.

“Hello?” I called in Polite British.

“Hello!” they replied in Amused North American.

They were in their mid-50s, I guessed. Wearing casual day clothes and good quality sunglasses.

“Bit of a problem. My clothes are up there and I’m naked in here.”

Wide smiles. “We know.”

They were going nowhere.

They watched me walk out of the surf and up the beach to my log. They smiled, enjoying the situation no end.

I smiled back and towelled myself dry as if nothing unusual was happening.

If they had been two men and I’d been a young woman, I’d have felt horribly vulnerable.

But they weren’t, and I wasn’t, and there was none of the inevitable ribaldry or suggestive remarks that would have scared me had our genders been reversed. I didn’t feel vulnerable, or even uncomfortable.

In fact, I put on a show for them.

I know. Just for those few minutes, I was a proper young tart.

I flexed, and flaunted, and dried myself slowly and thoroughly while they watched. I enjoyed the whole thing as much as they did.

Eventually, with my running shorts and trainers back on, I grinned a “Bye.”

“Bye,” they called. “Thank you.”

I couldn’t help chuckling at that, and jogged away through the palm trees, enjoying their delighted laughter behind me.


Often at the edges of everyday normality.

It’s where, and with whom, you find it.

In my weekly email Storywalkers Newsletter, I invite you to walk and talk with me while I write my books. You can join the newsletter here.

Look at this ancient Celtic coin I’ve bought!

I am so chuffed today! Very excited! I just found an ancient Celtic coin on ebay that’s from the time of an event I’m researching for my novel The Orphan Age, and I’ve bought it!

Boii coinIt’s a first century BCE silver coin of the Boii tribe. They’re one of the five Alpine tribes who made a mass migration (368,000 people!) from the banks of Lake Geneva to the area around La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast in 58BCE.

As my newsletter readers know, those migrants are the very people I’m researching!

It should be here this week. The seller is aiming for delivery on Tuesday.

I’m going to hold it in my hand! A coin that might have been made by someone who was on that epic migration. That was almost certainly handled by someone who was on it.

I’m a bit breathless.

Very happy David! :)

Wanted: friends on Pinterest

Things to do! 1. join Pinterest

I’m reactivating my old neglected Pinterest account.

Had a lovely afternoon and evening yesterday starting 6 boards:

  • my book covers
  • Celtic coins
  • religious art
  • archaeology
  • Morocco blue
  • beautiful libraries

Other boards I plan to start will include:

  • beautiful bookshops
  • my blog images
  • spoonie stuff
  • diversity in fiction
  • quotes about reading & books
  • literary quotes
  • quotes from my books
  • art & design
  • photography
  • places my characters know

And I’ll be looking for more ideas from people I meet on Pinterest.

Are you there too?

Want to say hello and share stuff and follow and everything?

Here I am: https://uk.pinterest.com/davidbridger/

Let’s go worldbuilding!

Let's go worldbuilding!In my weekly Storywalkers Newsletter, today and for the next two Fridays, I’ll be thinking out loud as I start worldbuilding for my fantasy novel The Orphan Age.

The whole idea of this private newsletter is for my readers to walk and talk with me while I write my books, and I’ll be encouraging you to get as involved as you’d like to. My email inbox is always open to my newsletter readers.

I’ll send out today’s issue at 11am UK time (GMT +1).

You can sign up for it here: https://tinyletter.com/DavidBridger

I hope you’ll join me.

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