For the past few years and, much like the dogs in one of my favourite early childhood stories, my life has been on “fast forward.”

Between moving from England to Canada, launching my career as a published author, managing several family estates, and becoming the primary caregiver for a teen daughter diagnosed with a chronic illness, I’ve been hurtling through my days at warp speed.

While some of this busy-ness has been good (the published author part is a dream-come-true I’m thankful for each and every day), I’ve had little time to stop for breath. At many points, I’ve also been emotionally and mentally exhausted.  

In the past week, I sent the third book in my Firefly Lake series, Back Home at Firefly Lake, to my editor. It releases in March 2018 and is the sequel to The Cottage at Firefly Lake (January 2017), and Summer on Firefly Lake (July 2017).

For the first time in my published author life, I’m between books. While there is still work to do, including checking page proofs for Summer on Firefly Lake, I’m temporarily embracing the kind of “pause” I haven’t experienced in several years.

As someone who finds clutter stressful, I’m sorting out my home and, in particular, the teetering piles of paperwork in my home office.

I’m rediscovering my cookbook collection, and the joy of eating slowly at my (newly uncluttered) dining room table.

I’m watching movies and reading for pleasure. 

I’m reconnecting with friends by ditching the electronics to write several long-overdue letters with a pen and special paper.

And I’m taking rambling walks to see my community with fresh eyes. 

Even though I’m not tied to a daily word count, I’m still thinking about writing, and new characters and ideas are bubbling away.

I’m getting out and about because as someone for whom eavesdropping is an art form, some of the best stories are inspired by random snippets of conversations  overheard in coffee shops and stores.

I’m delving into my “inspiration file” for pictures and news articles that have piqued my interest over the years. 

And I’m going to bookshops both new and second-hand because, well, just because!

Stopping, breathing and reflecting are good for everyone, not only writers.

Soon I’ll hit “play” again and put my fingers to the keyboard to work on proposals for several new books, but for now I’m enjoying this metaphorical spring cleaning for the soul.

And since my local ice cream stands are reopening after a long, snowy winter, some sweet treats are on the agenda, too.

What about you? Like me, is this new season an opportunity for some mental spring cleaning? 


  1. Heidi Vanstone

    I’ve always felt spring is a good time to “pause” and take stock of where I’ve been (mentally and emotionally), and where I’m heading. With the promise of spring comes all sorts of new possibilities!

    I had to smile when I saw the photo of the book you chose for this post – it was a treasured favourite for our children. I always felt a little tired after reading it, simply because it is such a busy book. Busy is okay, in small doses, but if that’s my go-to speed, I know I need to slow down.

    Here’s to stopping and smelling the soon to spring forth flowers!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Heidi. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Interesting to hear that your children were fans of my treasured favourite book. Despite her love of dogs, it never appealed to English Rose.

      I hope you are also able to “pause” during this season, and we’re both seeing (and smelling!) spring flowers soon.

  2. Beth Tilbury

    Well-written and provocative as always, Jen. Looks like a visit to the Downtowne Ice Cream Shoppe is in your future.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Many thanks, Beth. And yes, I’m looking forward to visiting that favourite ice cream place…on a day when it isn’t snowing as it is at present!

  3. Arlene McFarlane

    Fabulous, Jen. You worked at warped speed to get those edits back. Congratulations!! Enjoy some down time while you have it!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Arlene. I appreciate you’ve been working at warp speed this last little while too and hope you’re also able to enjoy some “down time.” xo

  4. Jennifer Wilck

    Enjoy the break. I try to visit museums when I need to refill my creative juices.

    • Jen Gilroy

      I like visiting museums for that reason too. Thanks for reminding me I need to do that. However, not as easy to do where I live now as it used to be. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Sue Bavin

    How lovely to feel that you are having a bit of a break from what has been such a hectic life for a sustained period of time. If anyone deserves a bit of time off, it’s you, Jen. It is important for everyone to recharge their batteries from time to time. For me, living by the sea enables me to go for a wander and feel better whenever I like – I’m so lucky. I hope your time ‘on pause’ brings you calm and contentment and a readiness to leap back in.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Many thanks, Sue. I envy you living by the sea! The seaside is one of my happy places.

  6. @ORWA_RWA

    RT @JenGilroy1: Hitting the “pause” button in life & #writing. Benefits of taking a breath to stop & breathe. #writ…


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