Saturday, February 01, 2014

Playing Hookey aka. When the Deadline Has Passed - Annie West

Bliss - waiting for someone else to serve afternoon tea
I love, love, love it! I have just, an hour ago, sent my latest book to my editor. I've spent months working on it, dreaming about it, fretting over it and polishing it. I've had voices in my head and sudden revelations and last minute tweaks. Now, for a short time (till my lovely editor gets back to me about any revisions) I'm in that glorious state of existence that's 'between books'. That means at last I'm going to take those couple of days for myself that I didn't manage to fit in at Christmas. It means that I'm officially now playing hookey, not writing or plotting or thinking about the next deadline. Those will come soon enough, as will updating my tax, clearing the clutter of papers that have accumulated while I wrote this book and a stack of other chores I've been avoiding. I feel FREE!
Maybe this feeling of 'school's out' liberation is so much stronger because, like other self employed people, I rarely feel I can walk away from the job. Being a writer isn't just about developing a great story and getting it down on paper. There's always so much else to do - administration and promotion and lots and lots of extras that build and build while you're not watching. In fact, if you let it, the work would never end.
But for these next few days I intend to ignore them all and take a well-earned break. My body needs it after the hours at the computer, and so does my head. I adore writing romance but it's also taxing work and I'm feeling the need to refill the well, soak up more of the world than I can see from my computer desk.
I thought I'd share with you some of the things I love to do when I have time off. First up there's spending time with family and friends. The photo above and the one below were taken when I sneaked a couple of days alone with my lovely daughter. I think you can tell by the smile that we were having a great time. Add to that the fact that I didn't have to prepare any meals...bliss!
Speaking of meals, how about this for breakfast? No, no, I didn't have the berry pancakes, though they looked yummy. Mine was the amazing fruit salad. It would have taken me ages to prepare all that fruit. Now I have that time. I wonder if I'll spend it in the kitchen?
What else will I do with my time? Books of course! I'll be reading. In fact, I'm rather hoping tomorrow to stay at home with my stack of to be read books, and linger over the fun of choosing which one next. Then, with luck, I'll stretch out somewhere with a book or three and a cold drink (it's summer here in Australia) and lose myself in someone else's story. Sigh. Did I say how much I was looking forward to this?
Then there's the chance to tune into what others are doing. I can catch up on current affairs (I've let the news slide the last few weeks) and find out about movies, plays and TV shows. Some outings too, definitely. Here's a photo of one taken not so long ago, when I was lucky enough to attend a day at the Australian Open Tennis. As well as watching a number of matches we got to see a number of players warming up. Here's Rafael Nadal, the world's number 1.
I'll also be spending time outdoors, enjoying the gorgeous, warm Aussie summer weather. In addition to my usual early morning walks I'm thinking of visiting a few parks and beauty spots just to take the time to enjoy something different. Maybe a long drive to a few scenic spots or a picnic by a river. I love having choices!
Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
So between reading, walks, eating, seeing friends and family, checking out movies, plays and TV series I've missed, I think I'll be busy. Perhaps I'll fit in a morning at the beach, or a trip to the markets. What about antique browsing or picking up some craftwork I haven't done in ages?

I'm so excited about this 'me' time, even though I know I'll only get to do a fraction of the things I'd planned. But whatever I do it will be fun.

How about you? What's your favourite thing to do when you've got time for a treat? Do you have any suggestions for me?

I'll give away a copy of my book AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY to one person who responds.

To check out my latest releases, go to your favorite bookseller and look for AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY or RUTHLESSLY ROYAL (a UK anthology release). Or you can visit my website for excerpts.


Cathryn Hein said...

Congratulations on hitting "send", Annie! I hope you're celebrating with all the appropriate foodie naughtiness this event merits. More of that indulgence shown in those photos would do nicely. They're completely drool-worthy!

Annie West said...

Hi Cathryn, Lovely to see you here. Believe me, it's wonderful to be looking at some time 'between books'! Glad you like the pics. I'd like more of that indulgence too! It's fantastic when someone else cooks too. Sigh.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, I love the insights into your life as a writer. Gorgeous photos of you too! Interesting that the life of the self-employed writer (or self-employed anything!) means having to give yourself permission to relax... I know exactly what you mean!
Please don't put me in the draw for the copy of AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY as I am fortunate to already own a copy of this wonderful story--I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, what a lovely post. I love, love, love that photo of you laughing over what looks like a potato cake. Congratulations on getting your book in. What a treat - another Annie West for us all to read. I'm having a day off myself today. I've learned that I need to get away from the writing now and then to save myself going totally mad. I'm going to read a historical mystery by Felicity Young! Lucky me. I tend to veg in front of completely unconstructive TV. Judge Judy anyone? Or read. A day of reading is the ultimate luxury for me! Enjoy your time off!

Cindy Hamilton said...

Thanks for sharing. When I want to treat myself I get a full body massage and facial!
SO relaxing!! Enjoy your books!!

Annie West said...

Kandy, it's funny how we sometimes need permission to relax and enjoy ourselves. I still feel guilty about sneaking time for myself! Hope you manage some of that time yourself. I'm so pleased you enjoyed 'An Enticing Debt to Pay'!

Annie West said...

Anna, it's such a relief having that story with my editor. The last few weeks were very disjointed, writing wise, and it felt like the book that wouldn't end. Glad to say I enjoyed it on the read through though. Hope you enjoy your day of reading and TV. That sounds like a lovely, lazy day!

Annie West said...

Hi Cindy, Ooh, a full body massage sounds fabulous! I've only had one and I felt so good afterwards. What a great suggestion. And a facial too! You know how to treat yourself - excellent! Thanks so much - I love hearing you enjoy my stories.

erin said...

Congrats on meeting your milestone! It sounds like you have a lot planned to "recharge" :) I like to read b/c I don't have a lot of time due to work. I also love to walk with my dog and spend quality time with friends. Jealous about the summer weather. It's cold and snowing here!

Annie West said...

Erin, it's silly, but the snowy weather sounds quite appealing (for a few days that is). But the sun's shining here and it's not too hot so it's perfect for relaxing. Walking the dog is a great way to unwind. I had a nice long walk by the lake this morning and felt rejuvenated afterwards. I'm planning on catching up with friends soon and as for reading - guess what's waiting for me when I leave the computer?

Mary Preston said...

Isn't it the best when someone else prepares the food & cleans up after it??? I do love to take my walks - relaxing & exercise in one. I like to watch/listen to favourite movies while I knit, sew, crochet or embroider. (Not all at once obviously.)

Laney4 said...

Ahhhh, Annie. I am in the throes of learning a new job outside the home, as well as maintaining my home business and family (and sometimes myself). The only thing I could think of is sleep. I wish you lots of sleep (and wish I had more of it, but this too will pass once I'm through the "learning curve").
Thank you for writing another book. You know I always always always always look forward to reading more of your stories (and I'm selfish enough to say, "Keep up the good work!").

Annie West said...

Hi Mary and Laney, thanks for dropping by and leaving your comments. I must say sleep is a favourite of mine, as is watching movies. Mary, I'd love to see what you embroider. I used to do lots of that!

Annie West said...

I'm a little late posting a winner as I got tied up away from the computer. But I've drawn a name and it's CINDY HAMILTON. Congratulations, Cindy!

If you email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)com with your postal address, I'll get your prize in the mail to you. If you head the message something like Tote Bags win I'll look out for it!

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. I've enjoyed myself.