The challenge was that I had to go off-grid for the week.
I'll admit there was a small hesitation on my part before the challenge button realised it had well and truly been pressed and I was all: "Oh, it is on!"
But I wasn't going to enter into the unknown meekly. No siree. I came straight back with, "But let's make it really interesting...We BOTH go off-grid AND neither of us brings ANY work."
His Adam's apple bobbed up and down and I held back the small smile of victory. I'd won before I'd even opened my notebook containing my holiday reading lists. The nerves at being electronically disconnected from the world were going to be short-lived. Phew!
Did I happen to mention my husband is extremely good at analysing a prospective challenge and coming up with odds as to his success before us mere mortals can usually comprehend what we've just agreed to? Yep, one nervous swallow...and then the grin spread across his face.
Packing for holiday, my friend Angst made her first appearance--and not just because I'd left packing until the last minute. What was I doing going on holiday? Was I insane? What if my publisher needed to get in contact with me? What if I received an email offering me a ten book contract, but the offer depended on my answering straight away? What if I lost all my followers on Twitter and Facebook on account of me going AWOL?
And why the hell had I upped the ante and said we wouldn't take any work? For the last five years going on holiday actually meant guaranteed writing time. I glanced uncertainly at my husband. Naturally, being a man, he'd deliberately left packing until the last minute. And, naturally, being a man, he wasn't wasting precious time second-guessing every outfit or lamenting the lack of a capsule wardrobe. Jeans. Shorts. T-Shirts. Shirts. Couple of smarter outfits. Two pairs of shoes. Washkit. Kindle. Done.
I looked down at the space where my laptop would normally go and debated adding a couple more pairs of shoes. Angst sat on the edge of the bed, swinging her legs in glee.
"I suppose you'll want to check my case for contraband," I said to my husband.
I received back: The Look.
I started muttering under my breath, risked another look at him, only to find The Look had morphed into The Grin.
I could feel myself approaching full-on Drama Queen mode.
I had done this to myself.
He'd issued one teeny tiny challenge and I'd just had to go and make it bigger. And now I was about to go on my first holiday in five years without any writing. How would I enjoy my holiday if the cold turkey effect reduced me to Worst Person to go on Holiday With Ever. Now I worried I was going to ruin the entire break. And neither of us deserved that because we'd both been working like demons for the past few months. We needed the break. We deserved the break. We needed for me to show Drama Queen the door and usher in Perspective.
As we left to go on holiday my husband passed me a notebook and pen. "Here," he said, "just in case, you know, Armageddon hits and we're put under curfew or something."
I clutched the notebook to my chest, feeling a huge smile spread across my face. "If that happens, won't we be busy fighting zombies and saving the world?"
"Definitely, we will. But you might want to write some of it down if we do."
Readers...this is just one of the reasons why I married him!
We had the most fabulous holiday. And I didn't open my notebook once. And I didn't feel guilty once.
Having your first book published is exciting, amazing, wonderful and really quite emotionally overwhelming. The work level ups considerably and when you can--you will need to take that break.
Since I've been home I've spoken to several people who are going all retro on vacation and making like its 1985--before all this stuff was invented to keep us connected and available twenty-four seven. Word is: It's okay to step away for a while.