Saturday, 2 June 2012

Work, Rest and Play by Ann Evans

It's a bit like a busman's holiday being a writer. I mean, how many other professions actually continue to do their job after hours, just for fun?

I don't know about you, but I seem to spend my days in front of the computer - or writing - or reading, it's how I earn a crust. So when it's time to put my feet up, or have a day off, what do I usually find myself doing? Yep, you've got it – sitting in front of the computer - or writing - or reading!

I mean, does a painter and decorator dash home after a day of painting and decorating to splash more paint on his walls? I don't think so! Or does a motor mechanic swop work boots for slippers and then slide under the chassis of his car? Probably not – and certainly not by choice!

So how come writers get so absorbed in the whole world of writing and books that it takes over our lives. (Unless it's just me and I really need to get out more!)

It is nice though when you do find time to do something completely different like going out into the countryside on a warm sunny day and relaxing with a friend over a refreshing drink. Trying not, of course to chat about books and writing.

Then there's visiting the grandchildren – that's always a lovely thing to do. Oh! But what's their favourite pastime? You've got it – reading. So it's either Sam aged 2 perched on my lap while I read to him or Megan and Brennan aged 7 and 5 respectively reading to me. And what's the routine before bedtime – yup! They get a bedtime story each.

Me and my tribe - not reading!
I enjoy trying to keep fit and visit the gym whenever I can or just go for walks. But even before I set out I'm deciding what to think about during my walk or gym session. Exercising, I've found is the perfect opportunity to think up new plots or solve difficulties in something I'm working on. It's sometimes a bit annoying if you find you've arrived back home and you're only halfway through a particular chunk of dialogue though.

Bedtime is my reading for relaxation time, and two great books that I've just read one after the other were Stephen King's Under the Dome and 23.11.63 – which is based around Kennedy's assassination.
Two very long reads, so now my reading time is encroaching on sleeping time, because I just couldn't put them down, and usually only closed them when the book slid from my hands as a nodded off.

Last weekend, I painted the outside brick wall of the lower part of my house. It needed smartening up. I bought a nice big tin of red-brick paint and set to, carefully painting every brick. Believe it or not I really enjoyed it. The sun was shining and I was nowhere near my computer or a book or a notepad. Not even a pencil!

Halfway through I found myself thinking that if I'd stopped and thought was a massive job it was (a bit like writing a novel) I'd never have started. But by doing one brick at a time, and one area at a time, it soon built up. Just like writing a book or a story. Don't be put off by the massive task ahead, just do it a little at a time. Brick by brick.

So even my DIY ended up being connected to writing in a vague sort of way. I'm not complaining though. Reading and writing - I count myself very fortunate that I can indulge in these totally absorbing activities.

But I wonder how other writers drag themselves away from their work – and do they really drag themselves very far from it at all?


Joan Lennon said...

This is all so true, including your brick analogy - you did a beautiful job on that wall, by the way!

JO said...

How true - reading and writing are an integral part of who we are, not just what we do.

And I'm lucky - much of my writing is about travelling, which is a wonderful reason to pack the rucksack and head for the airport (notebook easily accessible, of course!)

Stroppy Author said...

And.... if you do get away from it and do something else, the something else always seems to provide new ideas, so leads you straight back to writing.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Thats excactly the way to look at writing - brick by hard fought brick!!

Anonymous said...

An interesting read and a bit of encouragement at the end, just what we all need. Thank you