Lately I’ve been making lots of plans. I’m writing a book and editing another. We’re hoping to move house so I’ve been decluttering and cleaning and trying to whip our two tiny – and horrifically neglected – gardens into some sort of shape. I’m trying to go to the gym and eat a bit more healthily. So I made – as I always do – a to do list.
The way I work best is baby steps, a little every day. If I try to do a lot at once, I get overwhelmed and do nothing at all. Which is why I set the 1000 words a day writing target, which has been going so well… Or it had, until the last couple of weeks. I’m now 10,000 words behind and I haven’t written anything at all this week.
Last weekend we were lucky enough to spend a few days at the seaside, housesitting for a friend. I read lots and watched TV, we walked down to the beach at every opportunity (and, of course, had fish and chips) and walked to a local pub for brunch on Sunday. I went for a mooch round the local shops and sat in a coffee shop and wrote for a while. And then we came home.
And I felt completely fed up, which always makes me feel guilty because god knows I know how lucky I am. Partly I think it’s because at the weekend we had everything we’re wanting from our house move, but the moves seems quite a way off (also, we’ve been in this house for ten years and it just seems like such a big thing to do that part of me doesn’t believe it’s really going to happen).
And then yesterday I spent the day with a friend I haven’t seen for years (even though she only lives about ten minutes away!). It started as a meet-up in the park, but then thanks to the rain – and to our boys getting on so well together – it ended up lasting for most of the day. The boys played, we talked and talked and I realised what I’ve been missing.
Yes, I’m making a bit of progress in a bunch of areas, but every day I get up and the same things are on my to do list. And yes, I’m so grateful that these things include ‘Write 1000 words’ and ‘spend 15 minutes on the garden’ rather than, say, spending an hour on the motorway and eight hours in an office, like my husband does, but doesn’t everything become monotonous if you do it every single day? (I remember looking at the Water Buses in Venice and wondering if the commuters were sitting and sighing about work or if they were looking out and thinking how bloody lucky they are to sail through Venice every morning. I bet it’s the former.)
So for the next few weeks I’m going to focus on fun. I’m going to read what I want, watch what I want, eat what I love, and get out of the house as much as possible. And if that wordcount widget doesn’t move, and if the oven doesn’t get cleaned (it won’t), and if the weeds take back the garden, that’s ok.