Remember in my last blog how I was juggling all the different deadlines around editing and writing? So here’s a question – what do you do when all of that has passed and you have a strange thing on your hands called…free time. Like, what the heck is that?!
On Sunday I finished writing the last chapters of my fourth novel and sent them off to my beta readers. Hurrah, pats self on back. To celebrate, as yesterday was a public holiday here in the UK, I decided to treat myself to a day of TV binge-watching, which seemed like a total luxury compared to the previous few weeks of frantically writing and editing around the demanding day job. In fact, I can treat myself to pretty much a whole week off as any rewrites/tweaks that are needed after my lovely betas feed back to me will be done on Sunday, then next week it’s off to the Greek Islands for Lesvos Lesfic (cannot wait for that!)
But here’s the thing – what do you do when you have free time but you feel guilty for not writing?
Yesterday I slouched on my sofa all day, fighting these curious, anxious feelings that crept over me at regular intervals. Surely I shouldn’t be getting away with this? Surely I should be doing something productive. Maybe plan the next novel. Write a blog. Think about the panel I’ll be leading at Lesvos Lesfic next week. Just…something.
It took a ridiculous amount of time to convince my brain that it was ok to be not doing anything. It was ok to have that second glass of wine because I didn’t need a brain capable of stringing complete sentences together that day. I felt like I was skiving off school, or rebelling by not doing my homework. And I haven’t done either of those things in a long time, trust me.
It served up a good reminder of just how busy modern life is, whether you cram writing around a day job, or family needs, or whatever, and the value in taking some time just for you. To watch TV all day, if that’s what you want to do. Or take a walk, listen to music, cook a meal, phone a friend. Whatever floats your boat. Whatever it is, remember you are allowed to do it, any time you like.
I’ll keep reminding myself of that each day this week as I wait for feedback from my betas, and quietly work my way through that varied mix of entertainment you see in the photo…