By this time today I was going to be on holiday in rural France. I would be staying in an old farmhouse, swimming in the outdoor pool, looking out over the beautiful wooded hillsides all around. I’d be going on walks through idyllic villages barely touched by tourism, where people keep their cars in the barn overnight because they worry that moonlight will fade the paintwork. I’d be trying to order meat-free meals in a region where they have no word for ‘vegetarian’ and believe that a salad should be a big pile of duck with a couple of lettuce leaves separating it from the plate. I was going to spend a whole week with my wife and some of our closest friends, away from the grey skies and household chores of home.
The fact that I’m typing this should tell you that hasn’t happened. The fact that I’m not busy weeping into a half-empty bottle of Scotch should tell you that’s not an entirely bad thing.
At the beginning of this year I told myself that I was going to make writing a priority, whether it was freelance work or my own fiction. And as this holiday drew closer it became more and more apparent that it was badly timed writing-wise. I have two big freelance projects on the go, and other pieces coming in. I have that Top Cow script to write. I want to do final edits before sharing a draft of a novel with my first round of readers. Losing a week would have killed my momentum and stressed me out. Trying to work while on holiday would have meant not relaxing while simultaneously not getting much done.
It would be easy to sit here feeling sorry for myself. And I won’t lie, I am pretty jealous of the folks still going on that holiday, including Laura. But I feel good about the decision. For the first time in my life I’m primarily doing stuff I care about this much, that I’ll give up a holiday with friends to make it work. And that’s a good thing. I think I might actually be taking writing seriously.