A Pause for Breath

Somewhere in the middle of last week I decided I was being silly trying to fit so much stuff into my time, and that it was bound to lead to mental or physical burnout, which seemed imminent at that point. I didn’t get as far as working out what to cut down on, I just told myself off for lack of planning and an equal lack of stamina. About 6 hours after that, I found I was actually suffering from one of those mild 24 hour illnesses that tend to strike as summer begins to give way to autumn and the temperature goes up and down like a yo-yo. So obviously my self-talk was based on inadequate data.

Jacques in bed

Jacques pauses for breath

On the other hand, I was also legitimately quite tired. Our Fringe show, now under way and very successfully too, had a lot of props to be sourced and created. On this occasion some of them took several attempts to get right, and even nearly a week after the opening night I found myself smuggling a substitute mace into the venue in case the first one fell apart. I am also involved in a community project which has turned out to be much more complicated than we at first thought and which now means we are about to open our own charity shop and meeting space. Then there was the fact that I had published a novel and a set of two novellas in two weeks. Oh yes, and my full-time job uses some of my energy too.

Needless to say, once I had established that I wasn’t teetering on the edge of some sort of a breakdown, all thought of cutting down on anything vanished and I flung myself back into everything, updating a program and about 200,000 records at work on Friday as well as continuing to make headway in the evenings with my next mystery novel. I think the only thing that will probably have to fall off my to-do list is a visit to the Fringe as an audience member rather than a participant. But really, if a trip to the theatre has to go on a to-do list then it tends to turn into just another task to be fitted in. Much more relaxing to sit in the conservatory reading, listening to music, playing the odd word game, keeping up with Twitter – thanks to the miracle of Kindle Fire I can do all these things more or less at the same time!

As a writer, of course, the thing I can’t miss out on is a trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival. This year I saw Sara Paretsky, one of my writing heroines, and I bought a book I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it – always the way. And one I did know I wanted but hadn’t got round to yet…

Book Festival purchases

Book Festival purchases

That reminds me to mention that my own three Edinburgh ebook festival slots start on the 19th of August at 7 pm – check out the festival here: http://www.edebookfest.co.uk/

(link to programme on right hand side)

It isn’t just me rambling on for once – I have interviewed three writers of historical fiction about how they do their research.

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