Last week I was feeling a bit under the weather, with over a week off my normal day job to finish the first draft of my book (which I did, and it feels GOOD to have got the majority of it down on paper), but I felt a bit restless with it. I know this is how it’s meant to go. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s a graft: because writing a book is hard. Most of it was already written, bits and pieces in my Google docs, iPhone notes, notebooks, emails to myself. It didn’t flow out like I thought it would. There were bits that felt like pushing a boulder up a hill. I was going to the same café with the same playlist coming through my headphones and working so hard until my brain turned to mush and coming back to the flat with my boyfriend would make me a cup of tea – I’d pick at some food then I’d go to bed. That was my routine. Not a bad one, but totally out of my normal routine which is having a fast-paced day job with loads to do. I missed the hustle and bustle of my magazine job – where no day is the same and each day runs away with me and before I know it it’s time to go home again or go out for drinks. Last week I didn’t see anyone, I didn’t do anything apart from writing and I didn’t go anywhere apart from the same café. There and back. There, and back. In order to get the final bits of this draft done I had to be strict with myself and be on auto-pilot so I wouldn’t have any distractions. No coffees, or lunch dates or catch-ups. No long phone calls. Just tunnel vision: book, book, book.
Before my week of London café sitting I went to Brussels and wrote there for a bit of peace and quiet, and change of scenery. Then after hitting my word count and being happy with the result (and celebrating with a bottle of wine) I went home to Devon for a family party. A garden party full of people I love in an incredible make-shift bar with fairy lights and constant supply of Prosecco and wine and good music – a joint effort playlist with everyone’s faves, meaning the whole family were up dancing and didn’t stop until the party was officially over. The air was warm, a fire was going in the field behind us, and you could actually see the stars in the sky. What a world away from London where it’s never that silent or that bright in the sky.
I love London, but this year is my five year anniversary and it’s time to take stock of what that means. I don’t want to leave, but it’s a different experience now; I live with my boyfriend and it’s our proper home now, living in a flat we own, on a mission to do so much in the next five years. Lots of plans; but plans that are just “an idea”. Big and small plans.
This is what I needed, to go away and have a break in a calm place where nothing is measured in success, or whos-doing-what; all that matters is good health and dancing in a field.
Moral of this story: a strong cup of tea and an 8-mile brisk fresh walk will sort you out.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic