Back in my Belfry days I got pretty obsessive about getting my writing done every single day, without fail. I’d done that on purpose, really — after years of distraction, lack of focus and I’ll get to it one of these days, I realized the only way I was going to get any actual work done was to do the exact opposite of that until I got used to it. It worked pretty well for years! My parents would worry sometimes and remind me that it was okay to take a day off, but at the time I didn’t think I needed to worry about that. My Day Job schedule was such that I could spend a few hours doing relaxing things (going for a comic book run, watching afternoon Toonami anime, and so on) and still write for an hour or two at the end of the day. Taking a day off felt like I was being lazy.
I took this past weekend off. Just…enjoyed the days, going for walks, doing a few minor errands, visiting with a friend we haven’t seen in ages, and having a super tasty brunch. I admit that I did not do any writing or revision work, and while I still felt a little lazy, that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to. I don’t see this as part of my getting older, really…it’s more that I’ve learned to better balance out my life. I’ve finally learned over the years that when left to my own devices for extended periods of time, any worries or anxieties milling in my head will decide they want obsessive attention. [I mean, it’s healthy to give them attention when needed. I’m talking about the ‘okay, now I’m just worrying over minor quibbles and have WAY too much time on my hands’ kind of stuff.] And when that happens, the best thing to do is detoxify.
That of course means avoiding social media for however long I need to. It means stepping away from the PC and going for a walk to the nearby shops for some minor needs. It means distracting myself by playing my guitar, doing some office stretches, whatever I need. And this past weekend was a lovely way to do it. The weather was nice, our friend loved our city and neighborhood (and especially one of our local eateries we like to frequent), and my brain quieted right down. I had nothing to worry about, hyperfocus on or obsess over other than hoping the traffic downtown was behaving when we went to pick her up and drop her off.
That kind of balance took me far too long to figure out. For years I’ve always felt that I was either racing to keep up with everyone or slowing down to let everyone else catch up, and it’s only been over the last couple of years that I have allowed myself to go at my own speed instead of trying to adjust to everyone else’s. The worries and anxiety goes down, the focus gets clearer. Those anxieties will still pop up every now and again, and I’m still learning to deal with them as they come.
And now that the weekend is over and I’m back on the PC, I’m ready and eager to get revising again, with a clear mind.