10 November 2013

English speaking friends and my writing habits

For the last eight weeks a friend I've known for 20 years has been here in Spain and another came to visit in the same time period. It has been unusual for us to have visitors the last two years. After seven years in Madrid the newness of that and visiting has worn off for a lot of our friends and family. A lot of people say they're coming but never get around to it. That international flight is a big pain in the internal time clock.

The writer in me has noticed that having a spontaneous friend to hang out with has ground my writing habits to a halt. The weather too has played a part. It's gotten cooler and sun down is coming earlier, so if I want to have a walk or anyone else in my social circle does, well that first hour after work needs to be taken advantage of immediately. 

Last year, I wrote after work for an hour usually. This was stronger in the summer when it was too hot to do anything involving motion. Plugging away an hour a or more a day produced a nice draft in about nine months. Editing is harder for me already and I've had some shifts in my day job responsibilities that have wrung out my brain soI've done little post work editing.

I turned my energies to writer work on the weekends earlier this year. It sounds really dull and there was a time in my life I would have never been able to sit still and write or edit on weekends, but now I  do, happily. Perhaps because I don't need (or think I need) to shop for house stuff or clothes. I do like to explore Madrid, but that takes a lot of energy I can't always muster.

So the last eight weeks, my visitor friends have wanted to go walking after work and see things on the weekends. Generally I've had people to be with and it's made me realize how absent that is from my life lately and I hadn't noticed.

I have friends who are permanent residents here in Spain, but they don't generally invite us places, many have kids and organizing outtings is a challenge. While we speak the language, it's still a lot more work to socialize in amother tongue and we often don't make the effort. We travel for work often so people aren't in the habit of connecting with us.  I really hadn't realized this until my English speaking friend came. It didn't hurt that she stayed in our area since we aren't in a central location either. 

I've realized I need to be more disciplined with my writing and not just rely on the absence of social activities as my writing crutch! I guess I enjoy time with my imaginary friends and forget to make the effort to get out and see real ones. 

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