We are mostly writers here, right? We drive ourselves to meet that word count goal with sprints (1K an hour), daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals--and even yearly goals. We like seeing those numbers creep ever higher. I know I do. Every day when I actually make time to write (I will admit that my editing job and my writing life and my teaching job and my artist and costuming jobs have not all found a nice balance yet...), I write down my WIP's current word count. At the end of my writing session, I write it down again and see how much I've written. It's the numbers, baby! I'm all about seeing those numbers go up.
I did take a day off this week though (eek!). And, I decided that I wouldn't even feel guilty about it. I went to the grocery store, cleaned house, and cleaned my desk--without worrying about *not* writing. It felt great! In the afternoon, my neighbor invited my 5yo over to play in the water table and sprinkler and I went over and watched for a while. (yes, it has been scorching hot this week--in the 90s!) I cooked a big dinner--steak, grilled fresh shrimp, grilled eggplant, and made banana pudding. And all the while, I didn't worry about *not* writing. I still got on Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. I'd probably have done better to have avoided that, too. Any time I had the urge to work, I pushed it aside and tried to stay in the moment of the early summer day.
The next morning, I awoke early (4:30 early--and I had gone to bed after 1 a.m.) with my plot issues all flowing through my head. I lay in bed with the story just playing out--and things just resolved right before my eyes! Honestly, I don't think I had a conscious thought in the process--I really think the brain vacation I took allowed me the break I needed to actually work through the issues I was having. Besides the writing breakthrough, I felt great! Not completely like a new person, but so much better than I had two days before. A deeper happiness. Does that make sense? It is amazing how much rejuvenation a single day can bring.
Lesson: I made more progress by *not* writing. And I felt better. wow. This may be old news to all of you. (I am a slow learner) I had a taste of it at Hermit Week back in February--when I learned that taking time to just sit and do nothing is as important as multi-tasking sometimes. A tiny bit of inner stillness and a brush with creativity--addictive.
I am going to try to schedule in a day every two weeks where don't write (or even edit!). It's going to be difficult. I'd like to work up to doing it weekly--I am sure it will be great for my creative process (and my mental state, lol). Eventually, I want to have an (shudder) Internet-free day per week. Yes, I have said that goal aloud. *can I take it back??* Just kidding. Yes, it is a scary thought.
How about you? How do you recharge? Have you ever considered an Internet-free day--or do you do it now?
Amtrak is offering a Writer’s residency!
1 day ago