I have recently been repeatedly reminded of the importance, the absolute cruciality, of making time for the things I love.

I’m not talking about the people I love – I am wholly convinced already of the value of spending time and energy talking, laughing and playing with my daughter, husband, family and friends. I mean the activities, the extra curricular choices I make, that create the complete picture of who I am underneath the clothes of my everyday life.

Stories are the things I love. Reading, listening to other people’s, writing and imagining stories that do, don’t or may exist already. Fantastical stories, full of nonsense and fancifulness, the ones that I can bend easily to fit any addition or new direction. Edgy, nervous stories, tense and dark, with moments when I don’t realise my toes are clenched until crampy pains send a flash of warning up through my shins.

I took time off recently to spend a day wandering around a local literary festival. As luck would have it some favourite authors were in attendance, chatting about their writing processes and the relationships they have with their own stories. The autumn sun shone, I bought locally roasted coffee and sat wrapped up in a jumper and scarf in the grounds of Northwood House between sessions, watching dog walkers and joggers zig-zag through the leafy gardens.

By the end of the day I understood how important it is to my own happiness to make time in my life for more stories. I filled my Kindle up with new literature, ordered the writing desk I’d had my eye on for a while, and coerced my husband into transforming our spare room into a writing room. More of a story room really.

This is me, working hard. Awesome desk huh?

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While not in the business of dishing out unsolicited advice, I’d encourage you to have a think about the things you love, whether it’s free-diving, taphophilia or crocheting, and make space for more of it in your life.

Because the things you love make you happy, and that’s really all any of us are aiming for.