I returned to my current book this week after a two month hiatus where we eyed each other uneasily on a daily basis. I finished the first draft of it in mid-December, over two weeks ahead of schedule, having studiously worked on it every day for three months. When I finish the first draft I like to step away from it and take a break before I start the editing process. This has been a longer than normal break though so I was glad to finally drag myself back to the keyboard.
I’m not sure why it was such a long break this time round. The plan was to get back into it after Christmas but January dragged into February and now, here we are, almost in March. I really have no excuses. My office is shut due to the ongoing pandemic so I’ve been working from home. There have been no distractions, nothing to stop me from devoting sizeable chunks of time to the manuscript. It just hasn’t happened and I can only attribute that to lockdown fatigue.
Northern Ireland is now in its ninth week of current restrictions. Shops, bars and restaurants are all closed. There are no after-school activities to run the kids to and from because there is no school. We currently have three bored, restless teenagers homeschooling and it’s a long, hard slog. It’s so easy to sink into a rut, go through the motions, and wish for the end of a seemingly endless day. Our leaders talk of a light at the end of the tunnel but they’ve been saying that for a year now.
We become demotivated. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed, let alone wash and put on clothes. I barely run now, a far cry from my marathon-crunching heyday. My blogging has been sporadic and, at times, half-hearted as I struggle to find anything even remotely interesting to write about. I’ve been reading a lot but every book makes me doubt myself more, wondering why I’m even bothering anymore. Every NY Times bestseller I read convinces me that I’m never going to have a NY Times bestseller.
It’s a vicious circle. Part of me is scared of this return to normality being pronounced as the vaccine cavalry come thundering over the hill. The thought of going back to work every day, commuting to and from Belfast, frightens me. What if I’ve forgotten how to do my job? What if I can’t do it anymore. My running and writing have fallen by the wayside so what if this is next. I’ve become comfortable in my enforced bubble, I don’t know if I want to leave it quite yet.
But I’ve taken a step. I opened the dreaded laptop three days ago and started to read. Chapters I wrote almost six months ago, plots and characters I barely remember creating. And you know what? It wasn’t too bad. Yes, it needs tweaking and polishing but it’s okay, it’s alright, it’s not bad. I won’t have to hit delete and start over. It has the makings of a book, another stone in the legacy I’m trying to build for my family. The bug is back, I want to see it published, I want to write and push myself again. I’ve burst the bubble.