I’ve been in an empty, quiet rut of non-writing for a few weeks now, but I’m slowly climbing out of it, thanks to a little vacation. Vacation can also be spelled ‘procrastination.’
I had huge expectation for this first quarter of the year. Plans, projects, deadlines, ideas…
As we near the mid-point of March, I’ve noticed something: I had so much to do that somehow I ended up doing next to nothing.
I did finish one project but even that took much longer than I wanted. Everything else has more or less crumbled into dust. I’ve heard people say that creativity keeps on growing the more you use it, but sometimes it feels more like a well that doesn’t recharge as fast as I’d hope.
So when a week of vacation rolled in, I was more than happy to spend it at home. Doing nothing after just doing nothing sounds counter productive at best, but there was a difference.
This time I allowed myself to do nothing. There were moments of guilt and grief over not accomplishing a thing, but I pushed those away the best I could. The most important point of the week was ignoring all that pressure. It was vacation time. Time to get that spark and motivation back.
Did I have more than enough time to sit down and write? Yes. Did I sit down and write? No.
But what happened was that I got rid of a lot of unnecessary stress. I feel lighter. I can see the plot for my novel clearer. Even all those pesky plot holes and inconsistencies appear smaller!
Perhaps I’d been afraid of writing before. Those problems appeared huge and impossible to tackle, as if I was hoping to run through a solid brick wall. But after taking a step back, I realized I don’t have to bash my head against the wall. I just have to write my way around it.
Tomorrow, I’ll put my pen on paper and write again. I’m ready to tackle my project now.
Even though I’ve lost time with procrastinating, I still have just enough to finish before April and Camp NaNo. Because, you know, it’d be hard to spend Camp editing something that hasn’t been written yet!
My other ambitions haven’t disappeared. I’m getting yet another project to work on tomorrow, and that’s actually mandatory. But I can prioritize. Book first, mandatory project then — everything else can come later.
There’s a time for work, obviously. If you’re on a given deadline, it’s best to push through and get it done. Let’s not lose our jobs over procrastination.
But if you have some freedom in your schedule and find yourself struggling with stress and pressure and feel like you’re getting nothing done, here’s my advice for you:
Get nothing done on purpose.
Take a break. Breathe. Play some games or watch a couple of movies. Forget that stressful writing(/other project) for a moment… and you might just realize it’s not that daunting after all.
Do you sometimes step away from everything to recharge your creative energy? Do you work better under stress, powering through all your current projects, or do you need to take the occasional breather and clear your head before finishing your work?