What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to the dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?
If you’re not a full-time writer, or if your day is so full of other tasks that you have little time to write, consider these alternative questions: if you could step into a machine that gave you more time, how would you structure your day? What would you write with this extra time?
I am a part-time volenteer, so some days are “work” days and some are open to my whims. Two of these free days are booked with social meetings. On Monday mornings, I tend to go for a bike ride with four friends. Sometimes I chat as I go along, sometimes I look around me at the fields and hedgerows just being in the here and now, experiencing the feeling of freedom and peace the countryside gives me. We always stop somewhere for a coffee and cake, and this is where the group socialising takes place. We compare our lives, share troubles, and have a laugh.
Thursday mornings is when the musicians meet. There are six of us. We start with the social chat accompanied by tea and biscuits. This is a seperate group to the cyclists, and the sharing and laughing is about different things. It’s an older group, so perhaps health issues crop up more often, and keeping dementia at bay pops up a few times each session.
I am also a member of a swimming club. So that’s another activity with a different group of often younger people than me. I go to a writers’ support group, it’s very much about support and inspiration rather than writing, we have some great conversations. There is the book group too, not to mention the dog walkers I meet and chat too. All these groups comprise of different people of different age groups (ok, I admit that are one or two overlaps) from quite different backgrounds and experiences.
When I started thinking about this post, I thought I would write about walking with the dog, listening to music, gardening, and other solitary activities. Instead I am amazed at how many interactions I have with others, and how enriching that is. As I sit here, the list gets longer: my international friends and family; the friends I met through education; the friends I meet through collaborative video games; work colleagues in the talking therapies field; and on. I am actually surprised I find any time to write at all.