Well, it’s been several weeks since I’ve returned to Canada and the life that I have here. After travelling for two months in Central Europe and being able to experience all the neat things that I did, I came back refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to seize the day.

There have been many who are interested in my time away and what I got up to. A lot of people have commented on my weight loss since I got back as if I hadn’t lost any weight before I left for Europe (when, in fact, the majority was lost before Europe), but I’ve taken it all in stride and chalked it up to people not seeing me on a daily basis. They’ve also asked me about what I’ve been writing about and how it is all going. Most of all, though, I think most people have doubts about whether I will be able to maintain my routine(s) now that I also have to incorporate the rest of my life, which includes a full-time job and participating in a few team sports (rugby and soccer). I guess the expectation is that I wouldn’t be able to keep getting in shape when I have to go to work, etc. Oddly enough, the assumption might be that I was only able to get myself in better shape because I went to a Budapest gym a dozen times in June (which, like I mentioned, ignores my efforts since January on the whole). Well, since I’ve returned to Ottawa, I’ve gone for regular 5km and 10km runs, 20km bike rides, and renewed my gym membership (and put it to use!). Similarly, when, oh when, will I ever find the time to keep up with my writing? It’s all well and good when you’re holed up in a bachelor loft in Berlin, but can you really keep up with your pace back in North America?

Well, to an extent, yes. I don’t think I’ll be able to maintain anything near the volume that I produced when I had nothing beyond my main priority of trying to write 5,000 words per day. It is true that there is way too many other things in my life to prevent me from reaching that target on anything other than an occasional weekend. However, with a return to normalcy, after my first few weeks back, I’ve tried to incorporate a designated time in my daily routine to writing: 5:30am-7am. It’s not the most glamorous time, I’ll admit. I’ll even admit that my brain may not be all there at that time (but when is it ever?), but on a good day that might get me at my freshest. It’s about trying to not make excuses, and just get on with the thing that I love. I’m using this timeslot to finish the rest of the novel I started in Berlin, and if I am diligent, might have a first draft complete by the end of the summer. I’m using the slot this morning to blog, if only because it’s been so long, dear readers, and I thought you deserved to see something from me (heaven forbid you ask for your money back ;p).

I also wanted to take this opportunity to announce the creation of a new side project I’ve got going called the Fiction Oven. The Fiction Oven is a new community for writers to share nearly completed and/or unpublished works and receive constructive feedback, encouragement, and as it grows, a network of supporters. If you think that you might be interested, definitely check it out. Even if you aren’t a writer, let me tell you that we’re all insecure and would love to have some readers check out our works and maybe provide a little feedback. The Fiction Oven has just launched so there isn’t a ton there (yet), but I have uploaded two short story drafts for your perusal (“Spanish Air” and “Wounded Youth”). All comments welcome!