Abandon Your Writing, Sage or Folly?
When Thanksgiving came around, I told myself I needed a break from writing, but I felt guilty taking it. The fact that my days were a blur of ceaseless holiday activities wasn’t enough to sway me away from wanting to work towards the next writing goal. Not getting sufficient sleep should have been another clue, but it wasn’t.
I told myself I would start again in January, but something kept nagging me in the back of my mind, relentless as it reminded me I should be working on my story. “Time’s a-wasting,” it said. Overworked, I continued to stretched myself too thin, until there came a breaking point. You know the one where you’re supposed to be happy and yet you find yourself having an emotional breakdown over a nonsensical reason. I wasn’t really upset that I had to switch out the activities in the twelve days of Christmas I had planned for my kids. I had just hit that moment, that one thing that sent me down the spiral. I knew I had to stop. I had felt it in my gut the instant Thanksgiving ended and the whirlwind of Christmas was headed my way, but I had pushed on.
Finally, Christmas came and things began to calm down. The holiday cards had been mailed, the presents were given, the fancy dinner was over. All the to do’s were taken care of. After a two day breather, where I played with my kids and their new toys, I took a little time to enjoy mine. Particularly, a watercolor pencil set.
That day as I held my new watercolor pad while my husband drove us home, I was eager to view some YouTube tutorials to learn how to use my new toy. In the evening, I watched two videos and scanned hundreds of photos on my phone deciding what to paint as my first attempt. But night came too quickly and my eyelids began to droop with weariness. I tinkered with the idea of painting a galaxy scene. Brushing my teeth before getting ready for bed, my mind wandered to the different colors I could paint planets and nebulas with. Then it struck me! As I deliberated on stars and comets, I saw what my next writing path should be. I wasn’t even trying to think of writing. In fact, it was only when my mind was completely occupied by a different creative outlet that my new writing idea came to fruition.
The four weeks prior, when I felt guilty about not writing, my mind was blocked. When I forced myself to take a vacation from it, again, even though a part of me wanted to work on my story, I couldn’t decipher what my next steps should be. It wasn’t until I freed my mind from it completely, for a single day, I forgot about the guilt. My mind was filled with the anticipation of art. I finally embraced the vacation I had previously forced on myself and in that moment of creative daydreaming, I was given the gift of writing inspiration.
This applies to every facet of life. Often we get caught up in all the required activities that can sometimes overwhelm our lives and we keep pushing vacations away. But I didn’t have to pack a bag or get on a plane. A mental vacation was enough. My original plan was to take time off until the kids started school again in January. Now that I had welcomed my plan, I was able to enjoy the remaining week with the liberty that came from knowing my writing would survive being abandoned for a few days. In fact, it would benefit. My vacation gave me a chance to gain some clarity with the additional reward of some much needed rest and a bonus of paint.