I took Monday off this week, after spending the weekend at the James River Writers Conference (which was excellent). I have finally learned that this is essential in order to care for my inner introvert. Here’s the thing though, ever since I started approaching my writing as a job, my tendency is to put a great deal of pressure on my days off with to do lists as long as my arm. And while it is a different kind of work, it is still work. I’m being quiet, but I’m not resting.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to do the writing work, I love the writing work, but it occurred to me this week that I need to be a little more gentle with myself on these days off that are intended for rest. If my eyelids get heavy, I should take a nap (and not judge myself about it). If I want to linger over a lunch and a good book, I should (and ditto, on the not judging). I need to be realistic about that to do list. Yes, I need goals and I need to work towards them. Days off from one job are beautiful opportunities to do this, but I’m not going to edit an entire novella, start working that new project in the back of my head and draft a month’s worth of blog posts in one day when I’m tired. I’m just not.
Inertia is not acceptable, but rest isn’t the enemy either. The trick is finding the balance between the two. I’m certainly still working on that one.
*Oh and, I don’t typically lounge around the house in those shoes. I’m just super-excited about them (Kate Spade, consignment, $18).
2 thoughts on “Objects at Rest”
I’m glad you wrote this article. I’ve been pushing myself so hard recently through edits that I hit a wall. I couldn’t work. It forced me to take a night off and hopefully will teach me to avoid running up against those roadblocks in the future.
I am curious how you handle the word, “balance.” Do you think you can maintain a consistently balanced life as a writer? Personally, I’m not convinced. I think that sometimes you have to focus more heavily on your writing and deprioritize other things. Right now my gym routine is non-existent and writing is eating up all my reading time.
You make a great point here. I do think that balance is a bit of a misnomer, and I think that you are right in that there are times when the writing takes over completely. Cooking elaborate meals and doing the dishes are always first to go for me. Often there are a number of dirty dishes piled up in my kitchen, and I’m okay with being out of “balance” in that way. In fact, I don’t think I would get anything done, if I didn’t let some things go.
For me the key is learning to give in to rest when I hit those walls you are talking about and then not beating myself up about resting. I’m also famous for taking a sick day (because I actually don’t feel well) and then lamenting that I slept all day and didn’t write. Working on that.