It happens to me every couple of weeks or so, especially when things are really flowing. And things have been REALLY flowing for the last month. In big part that’s due to this new place (new to me) that I’ve found to work it. Instead of feeling done after writing for four hours, I how can stretch it out to six or seven or sometimes even eight, getting so much more done per sitting than I ever considered before.
Which is great, but…
…then comes that day when things…jusst…slooooow….dowwwwwwwwwn.
All of a sudden I’m just not feeling it. The plot points I need to keep straight in my mind get all jumbled together. Characters voices become muffled sounds in my ears. And the keyboard of my laptop feels like a torture device as the tips of my fingers struggle to find the right keys.
That’s when I think I need a day off. And today is one of those days.
Actually I’ve felt it coming on for about a week, but I’ve been ignoring it. Unfortunately, it has refused to go away.
But, see, I’m loathed to give in and take that day off.
Here’s the deal: I make this schedule in my mind…so many pages per day means I should hit page A by date B, and page C by date D, which then means I should have a finished draft by date E. I can get hung up on that. I can end up seeing that as the path I MUST travel, with no deviation being tolerated. Even as I think this I know it’s stupid. I’ve never been able to stay completely to schedule, and yet I always finish. Still I when I begin to feel that need-for-a-day-off feeling, the organized part of my mind shouts, “ NO! You can’t do that! The schedule. Just look at the schedule. If you take a day off, that means you’ll push the end date back. REMEMBER??? You made a promise to yourself not to push that back. I don’t mean to be a pain here or anything, but nose to the grindstone, buddy!”
This voice makes sense to me. I mean I really want to get this book done by the end of March. It’s actually ahead of my deadline, but I have other things I need/want to work on and the year is only so long. And then there’s the next Quinn book, Quinn #5…its plot is starting to boil in my mind. I feel the need to at least get that started soon so I can channel that energy. And if I’m completely honest with you, I’d actually like to get it as close to finished as possible before the end of the year, too!
So, yes, maybe I shouldn’t take a day off. Maybe I should just push through. Surely this feeling will pass. All my instincts will kick in. I’ll remember the plot points, I’ll hear my characters again, I’ll feel excited, I’ll…I’ll…
….eh…I’ll be kidding myself.
“If you don’t take a day off now, you’ll end up taking multiple days off in a week or two. You’ll actually lose more time.”
That’s the other voice in my head. The voice of reason.
At least I want to think of it as the voice of reason, because what it’s saying is true. (More true, that is, than what that other voice was saying.) I’ve seen it happen to me before. A day off now hurts a lot less than three days off later.
My point is sometimes we just need to recharge our brains. When that happens we can’t worry about schedules or desires or deadlines, because without that recharge we’re doing our stories a disservice.
Now don’t go around saying I gave you permission to not write. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I don’t have the power to give you permission about anything. My God, if I had that power, I’d raise and army and take over some small country. Preferably an island nation. In the Pacific….near the equator. With lots of beautiful, single––
Wait, I digress. What I am saying is you have to know yourself. Don’t let…eh…“you” get away with anything, but know yourself enough to realize when you might need to recharge. Honor that. Sometimes that’s as important as writing and creating. What you must not do is stretch this little recharge into an unplanned writing vacation. That is not acceptable.
Take that day off, then it’s back to AIS (ass in chair).
So that’s what I’m going to do. Take a day off. But maybe I’ll wait until next week…no, no, today! Wait, maybe tomorrow…crap. I’ll figure it out.
So, do you give yourself time to recharge?
If so, what are your favorite ways to achieve this?
And, come on folks. I’m getting a little embarrassed here being the guy who gets the fewest comments. At least Rob’s post yesterday was crappy (though humorous), so we should at least be able to beat his comment total, right? Help a fellow writer out.
And be sure to wish our own Pari a HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!
Music (for no apparent reason) ARE YOU GOING TO GO MY WAY by LENNY KRAVITZ