I am…on holidays?
My brain isn’t wired for this.
I spent last week starting a big purge, particularly in my bedroom because I’m in dire need of a new mattress and I need space to bring one in. Then I had to shift gears mid-week to more of a surface clean, and I’m expecting some repairs in my unit in the next few weeks that I want to be prepared for. I was exhausted all weekend and got up yesterday morning prepared to work, though I ultimately decided to give myself a few more days before resuming the deep cleaning.
I sat at the laptop and…stared for a while yesterday morning. I was having trouble working on zero drafts so switched to revisions on something else. Did that for my usual work day. Then decided to lie down and watch Golden Girls on Prime (just added, finally!). Which I did for three hours.
Oh my god, there was so much of the day left…?
And with a sudden realization, it occurred to me that…I could read! For pleasure! Between my own work and editing, I very rarely get to just sit and read a book with my brain otherwise shut off from critiquing. So then I read a book.
And it still wasn’t bedtime yet?
I don’t consider myself one of those people who can’t remain idle; I can. I’m very used to being by myself and keeping myself entertained–I don’t need to (and prefer not to) socialize or go out.
But the push of working all the time without more than a weekend in between, and working the kind of job where I’m never really “done” but have projects hanging over me, has wired my brain into something where a few hours into vacation proper I’m like, “Okay, what NOW?”
Which is not to say I’m not grateful to be off work; I am very happy to have a much needed break. I’m back to tackling my room as well, and realistically if I didn’t have this time to jump on some cleaning, it would be months more before I could get a new mattress (and, with a new mattress, I’ll go back to regular insomnia, instead of insomnia-with-constant-joint-and-muscle-pain). The only thing better is if I could vacation in a cabin somewhere with no internet and no people, just utter silence and my laptop.
I have that buzzing anxiety of knowing I need to get some projects done and released; this month is looking to be the worst sales month since I’ve been publishing myself, which I will pay for when I see that money in December. And before you chide me for stressing when everyone should be setting lower expectations on themselves during a pandemic, a reminder that I pay bills with book sales, and my finances will be in serious danger if I go a long period selling nothing. While I’m not berating myself, it’s impossible to not be aware of the precariousness of my situation, and know that I do need to have something out soonish.
That will not be Livi #5. I will update formally in next month’s quarterly state of the union, but it won’t be ready for Nov/Dec as I’d very vaguely hoped. It’s a messy year with a lot going on, the book is huge, and I’m not even on revisions yet. Realistically we’re probably looking at a February or March release.
That leaves me with a couple of zero drafts that aren’t done yet.
I think about how I used to write, the endurance I used to have–my record was 90K words in seventeen days. I don’t have that now; my birthday is in less than a week and I will officially be in my late thirties. I can’t do those long hours without pain now, and I’ve never entirely recovered to where I was six years ago before I got sick. I tell myself part of that is also writing bigger, more complex work, but I do mourn for the time I could work ten to twelve hours a day, write another five or six, sleep a couple of hours (if at all) and do it all over again.
I’d rather write better books than faster books, even if I know it goes contrary to most advice for contemporary writers…but I do wish it didn’t feel so mutually exclusive.
I’ve read three books thus far for vacation time and I seem to be on another thriller/mystery kick.
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole–it was fantastic, my god that woman can write. Also put me on the list for wanting this adapted by Jordan Peele.
One by One by Ruth Ware–there’s this thing where I figure out Ware’s books within the first ten pages, and this one was no exception, but I finished it as I always do because I enjoy her writing.
Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy–the sequel is out in a couple of weeks, which is great because I am eager for her next Irish cozy mystery. It was very funny and also Catie is a lovely human being; buy her books.
I have hundreds of books to go between iBooks and Kindle, plus some paperbacks, but most are SF/F, which I need a bit of a break from. I’ll check in later this month with the rest of my reads, and if you have any recs (particularly thrillers, domestic or otherwise–I like murder), leave me a comment!
(Don’t be offended if I don’t comment back for a while–I’m very tired after last week and I’m still dredging up the energy to talk to humans again.)