A fresh approach to crime fiction

Paws for thought

If a change is as good as a rest, is a rest as good as a change?

Why not?

For the last four weeks I’ve stepped back from my Robservations blog, cancelled my subscription to those helpful emails that promise to make me a best-selling author, and spent only a minimal time on social media.

Has anything changed?

Sure, I’ve focused on what matters – writing my latest novel and improving my website. Or content and exposure, as I now like to call them.

Less can be more. Less can be better.

I have to thank Harvey, my lovable West Highland white terrier, for this change of approach. Unlike us, who view holidays as a change of scenery and a break from routine, they’re a full on adventure to him.

The moment we began packing suitcases at Crouch Corner, Harvey knew. His ear pricked, he took up a strategic position on the half landing to watch, and became restless every time we opened the front door. Once in the car, he settled on the rear parcel shelf for the journey to Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswolds. Once there, he was like a different dog.

His excitement comes from simple pleasures – new places, new smells, new walks, squirrels, eating out and extra treats. He doesn’t spend hours fretting over a new plot twist or a character rebelling, wondering how they will impact on the rest of the novel.

And after watching him run about and enjoy the change of scenery, it was time to follow suit. But when we returned to Crouch Corner, I wasn’t going back to the same routines and patterns that made me long for a holiday in the first place.

Did the world end because I stopped blogging for most of May? Did I miss out on selling millions of books because I deleted emails that offered to change my world? Did I miss out because I kept a low profile on Twitter and Facebook?

No, I settled back to review my progress with No Remorse, delighted to discover it was better than I thought. Like any first draft of a novel, it’s a journey into the dark, trusting your instincts until it starts to make some sense as you head towards the end.

(I also discovered one of the ways I inject more intrigue and complications to my stories, but I’ll save that for a separate blog as it rather took me by surprise – in a good way, of course.)

Rested eyes soon told me my website needed updating. Sometimes, when you take in information, eager to learn and do better, you don’t always stop to consider what has value and what doesn’t. Relaxed yet more alert, I saw how I could improve my website for visitors.

None of this meant anything to Harvey. Once reacquainted with his old stomping ground, he settled down on the sofa to rest until the next holiday.

Time too for me to get back to business, but it won’t be as usual.

Have you ever taken a long, hard look at what you do? What did you change?

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