Work-life balance is a well-worn phrase which describes a philosophical and ethical way of trying to get the right balance, so you work to live rather than the other way around. The assumption of this philosophy is that the individual’s home life is more important than the in-work life. However, as a writer I have a slightly different take on this.
I’ve just come back from a lovely week in Crete where me and the Hero@Home laid on the beach and walked hand in hand around a harbour under a balmy autumn sky and people accept we are on holiday, but when I tell people always take my laptop away with me so I can keep up my word count while I’m away they throw their hands up in horror. ‘But you’re on holiday’ they say ‘why don’t you just relax’ they say, ‘you should take a break from work’ they say, totally misunderstanding what writing means to me.
Yes, writing is what I work at but it’s not ‘work’. I don’t dread going to my desk each morning, when I’m struggling to write a difficult scene I have to break off for an hour sometimes, but I never want to be away from the story I’m writing for weeks. And it certainly isn’t relaxing for me to have a story in my head hammering to get out and no means of writing it down. For me, a holiday isn’t a holiday without being able to write at least 500 words a day. In fact, in order for the Hero@Home to have a relaxing time away he insists I take my laptop.
The truth of the matter is; even if I change location I can’t escape the current and future stories racing around in my head. And honestly, I don’t want to. So, along with the suntan lotion, swimsuit and beach towel my laptop is top of the list of my holiday essentials.