When the first lockdown came, I immediately thought, ‘Now there is no excuse for not writing your best book ever.’

Lesley Pearse

Lesley Pearse

It seemed perfectly feasible. Nothing and no one to interrupt my thought process, no visitors and no demands on my time. Besides I’d been working at home for almost thirty years, and for most of those I’ve lived alone and never ever had a problem with motivation to write.

But who knew what lockdown could do to people! Suddenly I read about those who became cake making Kings and Queens, other who learned to draw and paint, or to knit and sew fantastic garments and to run marathons.

I did nothing as dramatic. I just became a Voyeur. I would stand at my front window looking into the playing field opposite and watch people getting weights out of cars, yoga mats and other keep fit equipment, and I would marvel at them heaving the weights, or stretching themselves into unlikely positions – such commitment to get fit! I became critical of their new fitness outfits and made mental suggestions about which colour would suit them better.

Just watching their sweaty efforts exhausted me. I had upped the distance of my daily dog walk, and the fine weather got me doing a bit of gardening, but nothing more. I hoped by watching other’s efforts I would lose weight by osmosis. But disappointingly this didn’t happen. I did however reorganise my kitchen cupboards; I threw out stuff over ten years old and bought new plastic containers for everything and labelled them.

Then as the weather grew warmer I discovered Audible, and lay on a sun lounger listening to talking books. Sometimes as I began to drop off, I would remind myself of the Master Plan, and that I’d planned to write in the evenings.

However the lure of Netflix came in the evenings. Who knew there were so many exciting things to watch? The Fall kept me going for at least three evenings and at least I can still remember what that was about, but there were many more big series that got me hooked, of which I remember nothing.

Guilt at not writing was banished by friends. They would come by my house and phone me to come out and chat over the garden fence. They all said I deserved a long rest, pointing out I’d written twenty-eight books already. I even told myself that Talking Books and watching films was a kind of research.

As Autumn arrived and I could no longer lie in the sun, and the keep-fitters in the playing field moved on to somewhere else, I did manage to finish the latest book Suspects, and even started on writing a Memoir. But then I bought a ground floor flat further down the road to me, and the excitement of planning the renovation, and looking online for wallpaper, tiles and the like has got me procrastinating again.

As my English teacher used to tell me, ‘Procrastination is the thief of Time’.

Suspects by Lesley Pearse is published by Michael Joseph, £20 in hardback.

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