Swapping the city for the country: Inger Dyvbig left London and her Embassy job for the Cotswolds to write a book about the fast-fashion industry and hasn’t looked back since…
Making the move
Over the years I’ve tried various schemes to become a writer:
- Write everyday! Even if it’s just ten words, something is better than nothing.
- Always keep a notebook with me! You never know when inspiration will hit.
- Mind over matter! When you want it badly enough, it will happen to you.
Last year I was living in London and working at an Embassy. I was thrilled to have a direct line to Downing Street and a panic button by my desk. Who cared if my commute was over an hour long? My bus-ride was the perfect time to work on my novel. After all, wasn’t Fifty Shades of Grey written on a smart-phone on the way to work? I could do this. I could have a full time job and become a writer.
There was only one problem. The more I dived into my job, the more I lost touch with who I really wanted to be. The so-called day-job started to take on the life of a career and I could feel my unwritten books slipping away. How could I reverse this?
My plan had always been to get published first and then create the lifestyle I really wanted. That life would include moving to the country, being able to work from home and keep writing. What was stopping me? Time, there was never enough time.
Question: What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
Question: Would I stay in my current job even if I didn’t get paid?
Answer: Hell no!
Where did that leave me?
In a desperate attempt to figure this out I started a blog. I would blog about wanting to become a writer and how to make conscious steps towards that goal. I honestly didn’t know what I was hoping to get out of it, but it was worth a try.
Three days later I resigned and three months after that my husband and I moved to a small village in the Cotswolds. The blog showed me that the only thing holding me back was my own fears. Fear of failing. Fear of being a rubbish writer. Fear of taking risks. The moment I started listening to what I really wanted, instead of listening to my fears, everything fell into place.
When I moved was fortunate enough to have a specific book in mind. It’s a book about the fast-fashion industry, but through the lens of sustainability, creativity and conscious living.
Last year I went on a 12 month shop-stop. It was meant as a silent protest against the working conditions of the garment factory workers. After a particularly bad factory fire in Bangladesh I no longer wanted to support this industry.
On the one hand you have human rights issues, pollution and all the other bad things we don’t like to think about. On the other hand you have a consumer culture spinning out of control with mindless spending and soaring debt.
Then there is a third factor, namely quality.
Most of us don’t notice the poor state of our clothes. Can you tell the difference between polyester and silk? Do you think pleats are just for decoration? Do you check out the lining? We buy clothes at face value, unaware of their low quality, bad fit and quick wearing. With that in mind, is it any wonder that the average UK woman only wears 30% of what she owns? Wouldn’t it be better if we turned it around?
What if we started thinking quality over quantity? What if we started paying attention to where our clothes are made, how they are made and what they are made from? This would start tipping the scale away from the fast-fashion industry and towards ethical and sustainable clothes.
Fast-fashion is driven by profit, ethical fashion is underpinned by respect for people and the planet. It’s basically the fashion world’s equivalent of fracking versus renewable energy. More and more consumers are starting to wake up to the hidden costs of fast-fashion and are looking for alternative solutions. As a result fair-trade, organic, ethical and sustainable labels are popping up all over the place. Contrary to my initial beliefs, these clothes are just as fashionable and stylish as ‘regular’ clothes. We can have our cake and eat it too, and save the planet in the process.
My shop-stop is now over, my book is done, and I’m in the early stages of looking for an agent.
Where I write
As I’m writing this I’m seated at my desk overlooking the valley below. When I first moved here it was weird to have so many extra hours in the day, but now the days fly by so quickly that I don’t understand how I ever had time to work.
On a typical day I’m at my desk by 5 or 6 am. Armed with a big cup of coffee I dive straight into the writing. By 9 or 10am I have breakfast, get dressed, and then I keep writing until I’m hungry again. Sometimes I go on walk, sometimes I do yoga, sometimes I get distracted, but then I go back to the writing. When the evening comes along my mind draws a blank and I have to stop for the day. Then I eat dinner, I might indulge in some frivolous TV drama, read, or catch up with friends.
Writing requires discipline. What motivates me to keep going is that I love to write and my environment inspires me to do it. But writing also requires structure and tenacity. I don’t want to waste this precious opportunity, and I also feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.
I thought I would miss London more, but I don’t. Everything about my new life is much better than I imagined it to be. The people are nicer, the pubs are cosier, the nature is more spectacular and more importantly, I no longer struggle with a Freudian identity crisis and unfulfilled dreams about becoming a writer .
Thanks to a small leap of faith, I’m finally where I want to be.
You can follow Inger’s blog on becoming a writer here
And on twitter @MrsLeapOfFaith
You can find out more about the fast-fashion industry, and what you can do to make a difference here: http://fashionrevolution.org/