Today we’re thrilled to welcome our friend, the brilliant, talented, and award-winning author, Lori Rader-Day who shares her thoughts on how we spend our time.
Take it away, Lori…
Big news. I have all the time there is. I’m newly out on my own as a full-time writer for a while and now I’m considering the ways in which a break from the 9-to-5 grind might be used to its fullest potential.
Do I set off on a multi-state bookstore tour?
Do I offer to visit every library in the state?
Do I visit all the friends I haven’t seen in two or more years, ever since I’ve had to start using all my day-job vacation time for book conferences and such?
There’s a certain itching panic involved in realizing you could do WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT. That you have, for possibly the first time ever, the time to focus on making your dreams come true.
I should be doing. I should be going. I should teach here, speak there, offer this, volunteer that.
And yet—what did I want from this time so much that I made the leap in the first place? What was so important to me?
I wanted the time from my time. And not time for more promotions or more blog posts (with apologies to Sparkle Abbey, for hosting me today). Time for writing.
So. Writers retreats. Should I apply for a two-week residency somewhere? I’ve never had two weeks to rub together before. It’s attractive—coming off two years without a vacation, though, I wonder if I would panic at that vast amount of alone time.
A few of my friends have taken mini-retreats to write. Book a hotel room, get away for a day or two, scribble. That sounds pretty good, too, and less of a commitment. But am I the only person who’s stayed in a hotel recently? They don’t exactly inspire me, and sometimes you get neighbors who have booked a hotel room for distinctly different pleasures than silence. Ahem.
What I want to do is create a daily retreat practice at home, based in reality and therefore perhaps more sustainable over the time I have off work and into whatever I do in the future. I know it’s crazy, but I like my husband and dog. I don’t want to spend two weeks away from them. I want to do the morning dog walk and then take my husband away from his desk for dinner. Instead of escaping from my life, what I want to do is escape into it—live it deeply and with an attention that I haven’t had in a while. Instead of retreating, actually, I want to charge forward.
So? No solutions here. Only thoughts that haven’t quite coalesced into a plan. If anyone has ideas on how to make the best use of time—golden, precious time—leave a comment. I’d love to know how you used your time best or would spend a few months of freedom if you got the chance.
By the way, thanks for spending the time you have on this post. Anne Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” We all just want to spend our days, our hours, our minutes on things that matter. I wish that for everyone.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Lori. And readers, please be sure to check out Lori’s latest book Little Pretty Things. Kirkus Reviews says: “Rader-Day…writes absorbingly.”