Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reminder to Self

Reminder to self: Your writing life is supposed to be enjoyable, and sometimes even fun.

A few recent things brought on this reminder.

1) Last week I went on what was supposed to be a mini-vacation, and ended up being more work than play.

2) I’ve noticed a decided lag in upkeep in my house. I used to move things around and enjoy reorganizing. It’s starting to look like a museum around here.

3) I haven’t entertained in ages. I used to entertain a lot, and I find myself neglecting to invite people over.

4) Last night I had a critique from my writer’s group and all night tossed and turned, worried that I’ll never be able to really the manuscript right. Although this morning I felt more sanguine, I didn’t like that feeling that I must get it right immediately.

5) I have intended for weeks to go see the new Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the Berkeley Art Museum. I realized that somehow I never find the time.

6) I find myself feeling beleaguered, thinking of all the things I have to do to write and promote books as some kind of treadmill.

Is that enough? What it points to is that I am burying myself in my study every day, working. I have always preached the virtue of spending some time away from writing each week to refresh myself. And I’m not practicing what I preach. When I’m away from my desk, I constantly worry that I should be doing something: working on the new book, editing the old book, arranging a book tour, figuring out a promotion schedule, updating my website, sending out a newsletter, reading a book I’ve neglected to read, taking care of Sisters in Crime business, taking care of MWA business, writing a short story or article, and on an on.

What this calls for is new resolve. I’m determined to look at the world with fresh eyes—not the sunken eyes I see in the morning with dark rings surrounding them. And to do that I have to go to the museum, entertain friends, get new curtains in my kitchen, move paintings around, listen to some music, try a new recipe, call a friend I haven’t talked to in a while, read a book that has nothing to do with writing mysteries, take a day off. In short, smell the flowers!

Here are some flowers for you, too:

Enjoy your day! And take some time off to smell the roses.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I'm glad to see such great advice. I feel all those conflicts too. And pressure must be so much greater for you, given that you are famous and I am not. But I have a worker nature and do have to remind myself to enjoy the flowers — and clean house now and then. 😊