We are more than halfway through January! I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone? The month is fairly blasting past. So, before another single day goes by, I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope it brings you much health and happiness.
I did a rare thing during the Christmas holidays. I took some time off work completely. Ten days.
It’s important for anyone to do that but I’d say it’s particularly important for a self-employed writer because we end up keeping all sorts of unhealthy hours, all the time. Partly because we need to but partly because we can. I’m sure it’s not good for us, though. Take just now as an example. It’s 11pm but I am not going to bed until this is DONE.
So, for the sake of my health and the state of my head, I downed tools completely over Christmas. I don’t do this nearly often enough. I don’t even take evenings off, usually. Or weekends.
The only other time of the year when work is completely off limits is when I take the kids away during the summer and it will now be a rule to do absolutely no work over Christmas, either.
To be fair, the fact that everybody has the same idea does make it slightly more achievable!
There’s that weird, slightly surreal, kind of half-light quality to the time between Christmas and New Year, isn’t there? Do you know what it makes me imagine? Being a wee person in a snow globe, suspended in a bubble with the glitter and the snowflakes drifting to the ground all around me.
Or maybe that was just the Christmas Day sensation, out for a walk on the golf course with the dogs and my husband after Christmas dinner and a few glasses of prosecco.
I’d taken the last of the hooch with me in one those HebCelt half-pinters. They’re very handy!
‘You do realise you’re breaking the law?’ chided my hubby, as I swayed along beside him, quaffing happily. ‘It’s illegal to drink outside.’ Oops.
I shoved the plastic glass into my jacket pocket. ‘It’s empty now!’ Nothing to see here, officer.
Yes, Christmas Day is a pressure but once dinner is over and especially by Boxing Day you start to shift down the gears and the rest of the holidays passed in a gentle hum.
I’d had grand plans of doing useful things like collating all my newspaper cuttings — I never seem to get round to that — but in the end it didn’t happen. I just watched a lot of episodes of House of Cards, back to back. Man! That Francis J. Underwood is Machiavellian, isn’t he?!
So when January 4th arrived — back to school and croileagan and back to work — it was a bit of the shock to the system and I didn’t properly adjust until the following week.
I managed to get on top of my PR news stories by the weekend and now it’s time to catch up on
blogging. I took a look at my website earlier today and was pretty horrified to realise I haven’t put anything on my blog since October.
Readers… I apologise.
In the main, that’s because I’ve been too busy working on paid writing jobs — a good problem to have — but my biggest mission for this year is to blog more regularly.
Not necessarily blogging in the way that I’ve been doing it up till now but more informally, more conversationally.
I have a tendency to go big when it comes to blogging. Ultimately, the reason I have a blog is because I’m a journalist — when lifelong journalists tell you ‘it’s in the blood’, that really is how it feels — and I needed to create my own website so that I would have somewhere to publish the stories that I felt I needed to write. The ones that I believe matter. Usually, the long ones!
That kind of ‘flagship posting’ is hard to do often, though. And these big stories not only take a long time to prepare, they take a lot out of you.
But if you are supposed to be a blogger or a columnist or whatever, then you need to be showing up regularly. I know all the recommendations on that. You should be blogging once a week at the very least. Two is better and three is ideal. Use lots of pictures — and people love video content. Argh! I know all this and it’s in the plan.
So, in order to get ourselves back on schedule, I’m planning to write something like this once a week, anyway. A general blether that doesn’t need a massive time commitment, can be fitted in more realistically among paid work and family life, and that keeps us in touch with each other.
That said, don’t think there won’t be any more big stories. There will. In fact, I’d say buckle up. We’re in for an interesting few weeks.
- Pic is of Michael and James on Gress beach between Christmas and New Year.