by Cheryl Brooks
I finally had a full day to write this week, and I was surprised at how many words I was able to add to my current WIP, although I shouldn't have been. There was a time when I was cranking out a 90K word book every four months, and that was while I was working full time. Granted, it nearly drove me insane, but I did it. Somehow.
After quitting the full time nursing gig in three years ago, you'd think I would have been putting out four books a year. But instead, I've been catching up on all the things I'd been neglecting for years, my family included. I've been home for holidays that I used to have to work, and I've been more active in my local RWA chapter. The only drawback is that saying no is a lot harder to do when you don't have work to use as an excuse.
As a result of that inability to say no, I haven't been home for more than a couple of weeks before packing my bags and heading somewhere else since April. Ordinarily, I enjoy traveling, but I'm not as young as I used to be, and what with all the preparations beforehand and the catching up afterward, I was, to put it bluntly, exhausted.
Then on Wednesday of this past week, for the first time in months, I had a day off. My husband and son were both at work. I had no appointments to go to, no shopping or cleaning to do, the yard was mowed, the bills were paid, and the vegetables were picked. I had to check my calendar twice before convincing myself that I wasn't forgetting some vitally important task. But there truly was nothing I needed to do. I had the entire day to myself.
So I wrote. Lots. And it felt good. I wasn't snatching a moment here or there to peck out a paragraph or two. I had time to think and feel and let the words flow. I plotted out the rest of my current WIP and most of the next. I fixed myself a nice lunch, and I even took a nap. I was busy again on Thursday and Friday, but I felt more in tune with myself and my surroundings, and I wasn't nearly as tired by the end of the day.
I guess where I'm going with this is to say that no matter how busy you are, don't forget to schedule a day with a big, fat ZERO on your calendar now and then. Consider it as important as any other task or appointment--fight for it if you must--because taking time for yourself matters just as much as the laundry or your kids' soccer games.
You need time to be you.