Some of you will be aware that this has been a difficult year for my family. We have been affected by serious illness of someone close and dear, a situation which has deteriorated in recent weeks.
At times like this you pull in, rally around and try to make life as comfortable as possible for everyone. It makes us grateful for the wonderful experiences we’ve shared, and feel fortunate for our own health that enables us to seek out all those adventures life has to offer.
Needless to say, there’s not much time left in the day for hobbies. This morning I picked up my pen for the first time in a week and jotted down ideas for two future novels. Before I realised it, two hours passed. Afterwards, I felt a mixture of elation and contentment, as if someone had inserted a hosepipe and flushed the dusty corners of my brain.
I’m not sure I really consider myself a professional writer. To me, that conjures up images of journalists and reporters desperately tapping keyboards to meet a set deadline and I haven’t freelanced for years. I’m just a girl who likes to read and write fiction – a storyteller one might say. I was overwhelmed with the (most unexpected) interest in my first book and feel very lucky and proud that it completed the journey into print.
In recent weeks, I’ve received many messages from readers asking when my second novel will be released; requests that are both flattering and humbling. I’m about three quarters through penning the story and really enjoying it, but it still needs a lot of work and probably won’t be ready for submission for a few months yet. I’ll then be at the mercy of publishing world, where nothing is certain, but hopefully like the first it’ll find its way.
Writing is a hobby for me. It doesn’t pay the bills; I have a day job for that. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. I don’t force myself to write every day, don’t adhere to word counts. I write when I’m in the right frame of mind and can indulge it. And when I’m not, there’s always plenty of research to keep me occupied. But it also means that I can’t afford to give in to procrastination; I have to squeeze my words into what little spare time I have.
One thing I do know is that whether or not my work is shared, I’ll continue. If I’ve learnt anything from the absence of my keyboard this past week it’s that I write because it makes me happy. It flicks a switch in my mind that no other hobby touches. Long may it continue.
What’s your excuse?