I’m more than happy to spend a few days on the sofa with my TBR pile, or working on a puzzle, or soaking in a tub of bubbles, as long as the downtime is my choice. It might be a long-scheduled holiday or a spontaneous mini-break because I’m feeling shattered—either is fine, so long as the break isn’t forced on me. When that happens, I’m not good at making the best of it.
I had a fabulous time in Orlando with Jeanne, Kay, Elizabeth, Michille and Kat. I loved brainstorming, especially playing the Damon Suede game of choosing a verb to describe each of our main characters (see Elizabeth’s post for more about this invaluable trick). I attended a few excellent workshops, heard a brilliant keynote speech from Susan Wiggs, posed for an author photo, made new friends, had a great discussion about Alexis with Jeanne’s editor, listened to a hilarious Q&A from Ilona Andrews, Gordon Andrews and Jeanine Frost, and returned to the UK tired but inspired.
After a couple of good nights’ sleep I was feeling refreshed and raring to get to work—and I couldn’t, because I’ve somehow tweaked my shoulder and it hurts like hell when I write or type. It’s my own stupid fault. Whatever I did to it happened the Friday before I left for Orlando. I was in the hair salon, enjoying a spot of last-minute blonding, and out of the blue discovered I could barely lift my teacup.
I was pretty sure it was nothing serious so I did what any sensible woman on the verge of a trip to RWA Nationals would do—I ignored it. I packed my suitcase, dragged it across two airports and a hotel. Unpacked it. Spent the best part of four days writing in my favorite Moleskine notebook. Ow, ow, ow. Packed case again, dragged it across two airports and home, where (thank goodness) my husband unpacked it and dealt with the laundry.
I arrived home on Monday and I still haven’t been able to write or type apart from a few selected emails and posts (like this one). I’m full of energy, my head is bursting with ideas and I’m desperate to get going, but I’ve made myself wait. It’s driving me crazy. Even reading feels like second best.
I haven’t tried using voice recognition software, because my mind doesn’t seem to work that way. The good stuff happens directly between my brain and my fingers. So far I have tried writing left-handed, using the mouse left-handed, visualizing story questions, and thinking about my overall series arc. My plan for today is to get the computer to read Alexis’s story out loud. Even if I can’t make detailed notes, I can start thinking about the parts I need to change.
I’m feeling much better, and I think I should be good to go in another day or two, but even that feels like a long time. If anyone has tips and tricks for the best way to make the best of my unwelcome downtime, I’d love to hear them 🙂 .