An unwanted break from writing by Tara Lyons

Getting the work/life balance right during the
school holidays can be difficult for everyone
So, today – Tuesday 18th April – marks the end of the Easter holidays and my son returns to pre-school. Although I’ve just written the date, I have no real clue what day it is, why I’m sitting at my laptop and who the characters in my current work in progress are.

You see, I think I’m a very lucky person to be able to work from home. It means a can choose the hours that suit me and I can work around my son’s part-time school rota. However, the downside to that is, I’ve found I’ve just had two weeks off work… two weeks I didn’t actually want off, and I’m feeling extremely guilty.

Before my son finished nursery, I had just hit the half-way mark with my work in progress. My protagonist, DI Hamilton, was talking to me and telling me where he wanted the story to go and another influential character was coming up against some deadly threats. I was in a good place with the story. I’m usually quite good at getting the work/life balance right and if I can’t work during the day, I’ll write at night after my son has gone to bed. However, it seems the Easter holidays have run away with me; busy all day with various activities and outings and visiting family/friends. So, even by the evenings, I was shattered to the point where I’ve felt no brain power for creativity. Having less time to write, I thought it can’t all be bad because it’ll mean I’ll get loads of reading done, which can sometimes be just as useful. Sadly no, I managed to finish only one book, and the other one I started last week, I’ve only reached 30%.

On a positive note, I did spend one whole day writing. I managed to get just under 5,000 words written in those few hours. Now, none of it has been edited, so I’m hoping it reads as well as I think I’ve written it. Plus, I’ve made notes galore – in notebooks, as well as on my phone – that I can comb through now I’m back to “normal” and make the necessary changes that have come to mind mid-mini golf or feeding at the farm. There is also another positivity that’s come from the Easter holidays – the break freed my mind and actually gave me some space from my work in progress. It meant I had the chance to think of other story ideas I’ve been wanting to focus on, and I now have the foundations for my first standalone book, which I’ll concentrate on next year. It’s been something I’ve wanted to start for a while, but only had the smallest niggle of an idea – well, I now have the premise of the story and the protagonist is clear in my mind.

So, while I still feel guilty for not getting my usual 1,000-1,500 words a day written throughout the Easter holidays, perhaps I need to think more long term. The unwanted break I’ve just had from writing might well have been exactly what I needed to grow the idea of a future book.  

Tara Lyons is a crime/psychological thriller author from London. She self-published her debut novel, In The Shadows, in March 2016 and was signed by Bloodhound Books in August 2016 who have since published the second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home. To find out more about Tara and her books, visit her Amazon page here.

Tara is also on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search @Taralyonsauthor


Anonymous said…
No guilt needed - pretty impressive that you managed to write notes and go on thinking your story into being while being thoroughly taken over by family Easter holiday fun. I think the hardest thing about being a writer is switching from writing to family mode and back again. Weirdly it doesn't seem to get easier when children are grown up - but that's probably because elderly parents start becoming needier! Discipline, discipline... sigh.
Lee said…
What is a psychological author? I hope you didn't mean pathological, though I suspect most writers have a touch of pathology in their psyches.

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