I set off from home with the best of intentions, daily blogs from the road in the UK. However…
A while back, I promised that I was going to start writing about “writers’ tools,” and the process I am going through at present is one of those: down time.
Being a writer involves holding a number of jobs, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in series. There are weeks when I work on a new book, speak at an event, do an interview, finish up a short story or article, and fiddle with online things–in the same week. And there are other times when I cruise forward on one track alone, unconcerned with side issues, wrapped up in the matter at hand.
The matter at hand during the past three weeks has been the UK. My first week was given to events, widely scattered across southern England, but since the 23rd, with only a couple of exceptions, I have taken my brain off the track of novels, the writing of and the speaking about. I have done some work, on an academic book about Holmes scholarship Les Klinger asked me to help with, but for the past three weeks, my brain has been blissfully unconcerned with the craft of fiction. In the five weeks before I left, I produced 300 pages of first draft. After my time here, I feel as if a set of overused muscles has been allowed to rest, or as if an area of my brain showing red hot in a PET scan has cooled to blue.
A writer’s tools include rest. Thanks for waiting me out, I’ll be home at the end of the week.

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  1. Laidee Marjorie on August 3, 2010 at 5:27 am


    I think that it’s hard finding and keeping the balance in all our lives, but especially for someone like you who has a public life. I used to work as a personal assistant for a rather famous person and I have been around some of the very interesting demands as well as lovely perks of that life. In any case, I am sorry if we sometimes feel to you like a giant fire-breathing hairy beast. We just adore your work and we want you to know that. So take the time you need to rest that gray matter. But take from us the support and admiration that is beneficial to you. (And, oh yeah, see you in October!)


  2. Lauren L. on August 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Glad to hear you’re taking some time to restore, to be still, to enjoy who and what is around you.

    You are gift.

  3. Beth Havens on August 4, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Hey ENJOY! I look forward to your rested writing!

  4. Margarite Anderson on August 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    How wonderful for you to be in England. It is one of my favorite places in the world. I recently read The God of the Hive – it along with the previous book has whetted my desire to travel to the islands north of Scotland. It is a goal now!

  5. Molly on August 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    So glad you’re cooling your brain (and, selfishly, glad to hear there is 300 pages of draft in the offing– oh such good news for this reader.)

  6. Jane on August 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I find it pretty interesting to see how a popular working writer manages her life, so I loved reading that you were taking a rest. My brain also seems to switch between different modes, one of them being a resting mode where I pursue other creative activities.

    Looking forward to hearing more about those 300 pages!

  7. Kimberly on August 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Funny how easily we forget that rest is just as essential as activity. Glad to hear these weeks have been just what was needed to recharge!

  8. Merrily Taylor on August 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    That’s good, Laurie, rest your brain, it is very important to us!

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