Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Sometimes the better part of a fight is knowing when to walk away. I’ve been in a pitched battle with myself since I started the full-time (forty hours per week) contract job at the end of February. Since that time, I’ve written exactly zilch other than my blog posts. And after last week’s lame effort, I realized I was doing my readers and myself a disservice. I was writing for a deadline, not for a purpose. In the best of cases, those two converge. But not for me, not recently. I’ve been beating myself up over not writing, which only makes everything worse. What has normally been my life, my escape, has become drudgery and a bludgeon. No more. As of today, I’m giving myself permission not to write. In fact, after this post, I’m not allowing myself to write anything (other than the dreaded paycheck-motivated paper) for at least a week. No WIP edits, no new stories. And no blog posts. Instead, I’m going to read. Not the screens full of online material I scroll through daily, but books. Real books. I’m going to lose myself in literature. I’m going to read the latest Grafton novel that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for months. I’m going to read whatever rises to the top of my teetering TBR pile, and then I’m going to read some more. I may even give myself a break from social media entirely and devote those mindless hours to still more reading. What a delicious prospect. I can’t remember the last novel I actually savored, the last non-fiction I read that didn’t require a review or abstract for a class or client. During that week, I’ll also return to meditation. I’ll find my center, calm the frenzy that fills my brain. When the noise subsides, I’ll consider my lost love for writing, my flickering creative spark. I’ll figure out how to rekindle the flame, or maybe it will spontaneously combust when I stop smothering it with anxiety. I’ll consider why I love to write, why I must write, and why I haven’t been able to write. I’ll reaffirm my goals, maybe set a few new ones. I expect I’ll return to my blog eventually, but who knows? I may find my writing veering off in a new direction. Some would say neglecting a small but growing band of loyal readers is career suicide. I say they deserve my best, and I can’t give them that in my current state. After I recharge and refocus, I’ll see where my words take me. When that happens, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Thanks for your readership, and for understanding.
Posted by Cyndi Pauwels at 8:13 PM