Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The importance of pacing …..

As I grow wiser in years, I have discovered that true happiness is reliant on choosing your own sustainable pace.  Pace at which you live, love and work.  Over the years I have been guilty of taking on too much.  It’s a woman thing.  We all do it.  We don’t want to decline requests upon our time.  These requests come from many directions – partners, children, friends, work colleagues and the simple need to get something done. We take on just one more thing. Sometimes even with the imminent risk of breaking the camel’s (our) back, we still do it.  The movie ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and adapted from the best selling book by Allison Pearson, sums it up beautifully.

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Juggling becomes a way of life and sleep is a distant memory … well it was, but not any more.  I have taken my own advice and learnt to say no more often.  Still not as much as I should but a lot more than I ever did.  I now take time out and head to the movies with my girlfriends, read a book or go shopping with my mobile phone turned OFF.  The rest just has to wait somedays.  And it will.  Most demands aren’t going anyway… but the difference is … I am!  I am going wherever I want to… within reason… and sometimes it’s just to the sofa.  Even if my dogs bark for their dinner during my favorite television show, I no longer run to the refrigerator during the ad break.   They are now learning to wait … they are not good at it yet but I am sure in time I will be able to hear Ridge and Brooke and not have to lip read over the woofs.

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Pacing is important in writing too… you need the story to unfold at a pace that allows readers to get to know and understand your characters.  The best books set a pace that leads you into the story then takes you on an exciting ride but now and then slows enough to let you catch your breath.

Well now to pace my evening …. I am off to soak in a tub…..

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well I was …but the doorbell just rang and we have visitors for Greek Easter … so it looks like I will pace myself tomorrow.

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16 thoughts on “The importance of pacing …..”

  1. Wise words, Susanne! If we don’t take time to care for ourselves no one else is going to to do it. Sometimes it is totally fine to say no, but I believe women find it a lot harder to say then men. Think it is connected with our different hormones.

  2. Yes- THIS! Exactly. As women and mothers we do tend to take on a lot and most of us would never say no to anyone’s requests. Like you, I’ve started to pace myself a little more than I used to and even though the guilt sets in, I’m learning to deal with it and take some ‘me’ time. I’m a slave to my phone, though, and facebook- I think I must suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) because I feel a need to know what people are posting on a regular basis (either that, or I’m just plain nosy!!) xx

    1. I know what you mean about FOMO and Facebook. It’s so addictive. I actually went to my mother and father’s home to write last weekend because they don’t have the internet so I knew I couldn’t check anyone’s status! The visit also helped me to pace myself because no-one could ring the doorbell or ask me to iron a shirt! 🙂

  3. Sing it, sister! I know exactly what you mean. The very first Christmas I did for my in-laws saw me excusing myself as dessert was served and I was later found slumped in bed asleep at 6pm – not to resurface until the next day! oooops. (Pray, do know the dishes were washed and the kitchen was near immaculate when it happened, lest it be seen that I neglected my wifey duties. 😉 ). My mother used to say I’d take the candle and cut it in half and burn it at all four ends…she has further dissected the candle. But the thing that has helped me start to say no? Writing. And my cows – they are better than television. Then again – we did just set up a camera in the hen house….that’s pretty good TV…..

    1. Goodness your Christmas Day preparations must have been so draining … I do know that feeling. Up till all hours setting the table, wrapping the last minute presents, putting up additional decorations, icing the cakes, writing up the next day’s ‘to do’ list … only to sleep walk through the entire day! Now my daughters are older I tend to share the load …. and enjoy the day. 🙂

  4. Susanne, I look back on the time when I was working full-time, writing (I wrote six, yes 6 books one year!) and caring for my family as well as my home and wonder a/ how I did it, and b/ if I was completely mad! You are so right. We women put ourselves under immense pressure to get everything done and I am so glad that you have managed to take a few steps back to enjoy life. Long may it continue!

    1. I really don’t know how you did it … 6 books in one year!!!! I’m working full time and have just told my editor that I can comfortably give her 2 books a year and still love writing at the end of said year. I handed in 6 over the past 20 months and felt like I was going a little mad! You deserve a medal. 🙂

  5. Susanne, you’ve nailed it. I think we’re born with this extra chromosome that men definitely don’t have. How do we stop what’s been ingrained in us from the moment we first opened our eyes and saw our mothers and grandmothers rushing around juggling umpteen jobs? I’m still trying to learn this. In fact I must’ve made a subconscious start this morning when my DB couldn’t find the lid for a plastic box he needed for his lunch. I remained in bed listening to the mutterings. It was too darned cold to get out anyway. Did he find the lid? Oh no, he took a much larger container with a lid so probably has a sloppy mess to deal with come lunch time. Oh dear.

    1. I think it is learned behavior Sue, and we should very quickly try to unlearn it! I do the same in winter and leave providing my early morning assistance until the very last minute, particularly on weekends! 🙂

  6. This is a timely post for me personally, Susanne! I was just thinking about how something has to give somewhere, but figuring out exactly what is the problem. Both my mother and brother have serious (critical, really) health problems right now that are both time-consuming and emotionally draining for me. I had a revision to finish and new book to start the past weeks, had to go out of town to see my son in college to deal with some issues there, and, oh yeah, had 45 people here for Greek Easter this past Sunday. I. Am. Exhausted. And yet my family doesn’t see it, because they’re so used to me juggling and handling everything, they take it for granted that things get done regardless. It’s definitely time for me to have a family pow-wow to let them now how they can help me, instead of shouldering it all and forging on as usual. I’d literally just concluded this when I read your post, so thanks for the reinforcement! 🙂

    1. Oh, shoot, the above post is from me, Robin Gianna! One other thing I had to deal with last week was a dead laptop, and didn’t think about the fact that my new one doesn’t have my info and photo on it! Will fix in my spare time…:-)

      -Robin

      1. Hi Robin, I think Greek Easter is wonderful but like Christmas, the organization and execution of the family celebration is all put on to the women of the house. I do love having family over and I am fortunate to have two daughters (one still living at home) so over the years when the wheels were coming off my little wagon I could rely on them to put the final trimmings on whatever we were doing while I had a melt down in the shower! I actually found going to my elderly parents home to write over this past weekend was wonderful… it was like time-out. There was no internet, so no emails to answer and between chapters, I sat on the patio in the sun and enjoyed lunch. It was like a writing retreat and it recharged my batteries. Oh, and on the way home I bought take-out so I didn’t have to spend even one minute of that day in the kitchen. That was a perfectly paced day! 🙂

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