Taking a Break

By Liz, looking forward to seeing the sun again…someday?

I turned in Murder She Meowed, book seven in the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, on May 1. On time, and (almost) without a lot of last-minute angst, as is my norm. I was really proud of myself for this, because as the Wickeds know all too well, I have a penchant for stressing myself out by somehow getting to the eleventh hour without a fully finished book. Which I’ve written about numerous times, so I won’t go into it here.

My point is, this was a huge accomplishment. And then I thought about all the other accomplishments I’ve racked up in the past 10 months–and compared them to the challenges– and decided to actually celebrate for a change. Here’s an excerpt from my Facebook post from the day I turned in the book. Since last July, I:

  • Wrote three(!) books (and did copy edits/page proofs for one).
  • Had a really crappy few months at my old job.
  • Found/started a new (and pretty demanding) day job.
  • Traveled a bunch with said new day job.
  • Managed to take a real vacation for the first time in a long time last fall.
  • Dealt with A LOT of personal issues, including Shaggy’s illness, which was wicked stressful for me.
  • Lost 2 cats within 2 weeks back in January – Pumpkin and Johnny. 🙁
  • Did one round of B-School.
  • Managed to give off the illusion that I was a semi-moderately high-functioning adult most days.

Actually acknowledging that I got a lot done despite most of this stuff is new for me. Typically, I’d cross stuff off the list, tell myself to suck up the rest, and move on.

But I didn’t do that this time. I decided to give myself a break before the next deadline (which is looming, but it’s all good). I took a couple weeks off from serious writing, and tried to be good to myself. Granted, I spent some extra time on the day job, but aside from that, I managed pretty well.

So if you’d all care to indulge me, I thought I’d share five things I’ve been reading/doing/watching/pondering during the little vacation I granted myself (kind of like Tim Ferriss’s 5-Bullet Friday emails):

Watching: both of Harlan Coben’s Netflix series, The Five and Safe. Calling it research. Loved them both – he is a master.

Reading: My reading time was severely compromised during the past months. I finally got to finish Dennis Lehane’s Since We Fell. And I read Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love, a book I’d only read in pieces up until now.

Who I’m following: I’m currently obsessed with the poet Nayyirah Waheed. Her short poems speak volumes.

Quote I’ve been pondering: By Alan Cohen: “Fear and resistance are the dragons that stand at the door of the temple that contains the jewel you seek. Just keep going.”

Where I’ve been: This isn’t super exciting, but I’ve wanted to go to a Container Store for years – and there’s finally one close to me. I made my first trip a couple weeks ago. It lives up to the hype!

That’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to. Thanks for indulging me!

Readers, what are your favorite down time activities?


33 Thoughts

  1. I’m exhausted just reading about your schedule and accomplishments, Liz. If anyone deserves some downtime, it’s you!

  2. First, you must have somehow cloned yourself in order to accomplish all you have in the last ten months. Pat yourself on the back!

    My downtime? Usually reading–something indulgent, that has nothing to do with what I’m writing at the time. We can’t lose sight of reading for the pure pleasure of it!

  3. What a great post! You have accomplished and overcome so much! Congratulations! I am inspired by that quote, by the way. I am compelled to be “productive” 24/7 and have to remind myself to “have fun.” The other night, my husband and I actually went on a date (which we almost never do!) to see Monica the Medium. It was the best! When we got home, we had an unexpected, major family challenge. I was much more up to the task because I was in the right, relaxed frame of mind. So glad you’re taking time off, Liz! 🙂

  4. Way to go, Liz! I love to get away and just be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. If I can’t do that reading and walking are great escapes.

  5. Liz—always love hearing about latest successes and how you’re doing. Glad you got a break, a much-deserved one, clearly!

  6. Congrats on all the accomplishments! You truly deserve a little downtime.

    I’m almost afraid to ask, but…what exactly is at a Container store? I’m guessing containers, but what kind?

    1. Liz, it’s really cool – it’s all kinds of stuff to organize your house – and they even build you closets if you want! Lots of cool stuff.

  7. Congratulations on the book completion and the great checked off accomplishments. I like to give myself tan opportunity o see something new in my downtime/vacation time. Something new or something I haven’t seen in a long time. That may be a place, a play, a concert, a tv show or a myriad of other things. Often, it is a person. Off to Vermont next month to see an old friend, and then a couple of other New England stops.

  8. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished. That is an amazing list! Sounds like my last few months in many ways but without the books written.

    Reading and watching TV are definitely both ways I unwind. Ironically, they do add their own pressures, however. I’ve got so many books I am dying to read that I want to get through my current book quickly while still enjoying it. 🙂

  9. Reading!!! And reading at the beach. You’ve been quite busy. We are retired so don’t do much of anything except travel a bit more than before.

  10. Liz, congratulations on all you have accomplished! In those rare weeks I give myself a breather, I like to read books I’ve chosen, not for review; binge watchanything missed on Masterpiece/PBS, and give my closets a good cleaning! That last sets me up for a happy summer before workshopping my next book in June and plunging into revisions all summer~and don’t forget the Wickeds always have a standing invitation to guest on my crime review blog with a new release!

  11. I have no idea how you did all this and did not lose your ever-loving mind! You deserve some time to rest and recharge.

    I’m a relaxation reader- well, I’m an any time reader but it is the one thing guaranteed to release a little stress for me!

    Take care of yourself!

  12. Congrats on all your accomplishments & I love that cover! I devote all my downtime to reading.

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