Saturday, 6 August 2016

Taming the Jungle: A Motivational Tale

by Jennifer Young

Nothing like a challenge for motivation...
Sometimes you just lose motivation. No reason; it just goes. I’ve been feeling that way for a few months now, as anyone who’s asked me to do anything for them will testify. Most of the time I do it, but not until I’ve been nagged at or prompted or, in extreme cases, had my hand forced. It doesn’t matter what it is — responding to letters, tweets or emails; promoting my books; writing my books; catching up with friends; even taking the cat to the vet. (The cat, in fairness, has not chased me up about this.)

After a two-week staycation, however, I’m feeling that thing are on the up. A few days away in Cumbria and a few days out locally have made a difference to my motivational state. Look — I’m even doing my blog on the right date without having to be reminded. I wouldn’t say I’m raring to go but at least I’m thinking of making a list of all the things I really need to do. 

One thing I did do — and maybe it’s the thing that started me back on the right road — is turn to gardening. I’ve never been a natural gardener but one day I realised that I had not much else to do, that the sun was shining and that in front of me was a garden that had been badly neglected for the better part of two years and required more than a little attention. Armed with a trowel, a pair of secateurs and a roll of plastic bags, I set to.

Somewhere in a dense jungle of couch grass and orange hawkweed, I rediscovered my enthusiasm. I don’t know why or how. I don’t know if it was the fact that the seed of an idea (pun intended) that came into my head happened to fall on fertile ground. I don’t know if it’s the fact that teasing dandelion roots out of soft warm soil is, in its way, more than a little therapeutic. Or maybe it was just that I needed a holiday.

The long and the short of it is that I feel rejuvenated. I have an idea for a new story backing up behind all the other projects I have on at different stages (don’t worry — I like it that way). I have what feels like several acres of bare soil as evidence of my efforts. I’ve even pulled up the odd tree with my bare hands. Four foot saplings, perhaps, but trees nonetheless. 

I’ve still got a couple of days left of my holiday but come Monday, I expect t be back on the treadmill with a vengeance. And the first thing on my list is a full plan for that new story…


  1. Good for you. Remember the words of Margaret Atwood "In June at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." Or something like that. You may get hooked on the rewarding nature of gardening.

  2. Glad to hear your mojo has returned, Jennifer. Gardening would never be first on my list of enjoyable things to do, but I do find being outdoors a great mood enhancer. Be gentle on yourself and good luck for Monday morning. : )

  3. Delighted for you Jennifer. Now, where's that garden of yours ... and please can I borrow the secateurs?

  4. A motivational blog Jennifer! Well done you. And you get an improved garden out of it too :)

  5. Well done Jennifer. I'm not into gardening very much - every time I venture out thinking I'll do some I seem to attract every biting insect around! I must be a very sweet tasting person! Glad your mojo has returned though - could you ask him/her if he has any idea where mine has gone?

  6. What a lovely, lovely blogpost this is. I can identify with all of that. Gardening is very therapeutic .... I always feel quite 'whole' - if that doesn't sound too new-age and hippy - when I have my hands in the soil. Anyway, your post has motivated me to a short story.....better get going!