I’ve been quiet on the writing front lately. It’s not writer’s block, even though the novel I started in a great burst of energy a couple of months ago has not been touched since … well, since I had that writing burst. It’s not words I’m struggling with, but something far simpler. I need time out.

We all have busy lives. Our busy-ness just takes different shapes. At its simplest, my busy-ness involves a house with six people (and all that entails), as well as a part-time job and freelance PR work; at its more difficult, (which is the case now due to some extra family needs and a flare up of tennis elbow that has restricted me significantly), my mind becomes busier than my body, churning and tossing and wondering and hoping … and it’s tired. I’m tired. I’m scared I’m going to burn out. I look around at all my extra “responsibilities” or “must-do’s” like unwritten book reviews and unmade high tea stands (another project I started with enthusiasm) and they nag at me. I get upset because I’m not living up to the expectations I’ve set myself.

Walking along the beach with Blue Eyes yesterday I came to a decision. It’s been coming for a while, but I’ve been putting it off, hoping things would magically clear up. They haven’t.

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When you’re too busy, the little things get lost in the blur.

It’s really quite simple. I need to take back some time. I need to let go of some things, just for a while, so I can regain some balance. Let go? Set aside is perhaps a better phrase. That pile of books that is waiting to be reviewed? It’s not going to happen in a hurry. I need to accept that. Writing reviews was always meant to fit in around my family (I don’t write them according to schedules), but lately I’ve been feeling guilty because I just can’t fit them in. I don’t have that hour it takes to write one of my longer reviews, let alone write several.

What I need right now is to read just because. To write when the urge is there, just because, rather than because I feel I must. To sit and watch a movie without feeling guilty about the books I should review. To review because I have something to say. It’s not forever. Just until some things at home settle down. Until my mind feels less overloaded. I need to do this for myself. I need to do this for my family so I don’t resent the time they ask for, big or small.

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I can’t remember the last time I re-read a favourite book. I’m starting with this one.

I’m not giving up reviewing, just taking a step back for a while. And, in putting that nagging pile straight onto my read shelf, I’m letting go of the guilt that floods me when I look at the books I’ve been sent and hoping the senders will understand.