When I was younger I had friends who lived for their summer holidays. Their trips to the beach, their chance to lie roasting in the sun before dancing the night away at a club. I was never good at that. I am not a beach person. Sand gets everywhere for one thing. But mainly I found it unbearably boring. I wanted to do things, experience things when I had a holiday. Everything else seemed like a waste of time. There had to be adventures, activities, experiences. Until I found this house. This home away from home that I cherish so dearly.
Here, for the first time since I was a child, I can relax. I can dream away the days without feeling as though I am wasting them. I can fritter them away in idleness and not feel I have missed out on something better. And I love it. I measure my holidays in how many books I read, not how many trips I took.
There is an absolute freedom that comes with merely letting go. With days spent in your pyjamas. Days where the laundry can wait and you live on sandwiches and soup. (And perhaps the odd cookie or big slice of cake.) Days when you’ve read three books and have barely noticed the snow storm raging outside.
Someone asked me how to become a writer, and the best piece of advice I could give them was, ‘Write. Read.’ Now I would add, ‘And take days where you do nothing.’ Because in those empty days you find inspiration for another story or find another way to describe the scene you’re struggling with. It doesn’t matter that you’re behind with your word count or that you lost half your followers on Instagram. Nothing matters today.
Tomorrow will come soon enough. With laundry, bills to pay, meals to cook, scenes to write.
But today, just take a break.