Don’t forget *not* to write

pbc reading
Souce: Polar Bear Café

I know, I know, I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s always worth repeating, because we writers are often our own worst enemies.

Sometimes I get so into the groove of writing or revising one of my projects that I just keep going for weeks on end, and let other things fall by the wayside.  Which is fine, especially if I really want to make a significant dent in my progress.  Thing is, sometimes I do this for a little too long, and I’ll either burn out or I’ll lose track of other important things.

So this past Saturday, instead of doing any writing, we went on a short road trip down the coast to Half Moon Bay for brunch and a little bit of shopping, and followed it up with watching the first two Star Wars prequels.  We hadn’t seen The Phantom Menace since it came out, and neither of us had seen Attack of the Clones.  [Our post-movie thoughts: TPM had promise but suffered from horrifically bad dialogue and lifeless acting; AotC was miles better and actually quite enjoyable, if overlong and with a few questionable plot choices.  We plan on watching Revenge of the Sith sometime this week.  Noted, we’re watching these for a panel we’ve devised for BayCon in a few weeks!]

Taking a day off from writing is always a good choice, for multiple reasons.  One, every now and again it feels good not to have to worry about hitting a self-imposed deadline or word count.  I’m allowed a fun day off now and again, right?  Two, this is a perfect time for me to switch from Writer/Editor Brain over to Reader Brain.  Time to kick back, enjoy a story.  Be moved or inspired by a novel or movie.  Three, I get to be social with other people, including my wife.  Four, it reminds me that even though I might find the writing process thrilling and immensely enjoyable, there are other things out there that are equally as enjoyable.  Like going to the local zoo!

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Well, hello to you too!

I think I’ve managed to get the the point in my life where I’m okay if I take a day off now and again.  Writer that I am, I’ll most likely still think about whatever I’m working on, but in a passive way, making mental notes for later.  It’ll still be there when I get back in a day or so.

Lazy

sleepy cat

It wasn’t as if I’d had an energy-draining day at the Day Job on Friday.  In fact, it was smooth sailing for most of the afternoon.  I kept myself busy by catching up on personal emails and listening to some new release tunage.  After work we went for a walk to the Legion of Honor Museum up on the hill (it’s just a little over a mile from our house by foot, uphill 98% of the way) for a sneak preview of their Degas, Impressionism and the Paris Millenery Trade exhibit.  A bit tired from the walk but otherwise just fine.

Did I get any writing work done, though?  Not a word.

Nor did I get any work done Saturday, when we went to see a movie at the Opera Plaza (the documentary Letters from Baghdad) and afterwards stopped by Green Apple to buy a few books I’d been looking for.  I did turn on the PC to update a few drivers and software, but spent the rest of the day catching up on webcomics that I’d been backed up on.  [I’m a big fan of webcomics for multiple reasons and will most likely have a future post on them at some point!]

Sunday was shopping day, so hopefully some time tonight I’ll be able to squeeze in some Lidwells work.  If I’m not distracted by other things!  Heh.

It’s not all that often that I’ll take a day or two off without feeling some sort of guilt.  I’m at that point in my writing career where I’m once again comfortable with my processes, that I don’t feel the need to rush to get things done.  [I’ll still kick myself for procrastinating, but that’s more about getting my daily processes started in the first place.]  I can afford a few days off where I’m living a normal life, watching TV and going out into the world and whatnot.

It’s a struggle of many writers, considering many of them are like me, juggling their writing career with their Day Job.  You can’t really decide ‘I’m gonna play hooky from my Day Job, I deserve to do it now and again’, at least not without consequences and/or lost pay.  On the same token, you don’t want to do that with your writing either, because a) that’s admitting your writing is less important (which you do NOT want to admit), and b) that’s one less day you’re moving forward, one more day your story is just sitting there, doing nothing.  It’s also why, when writers do take a day off from writing AND their Day Job, it’s usually for vacation purposes and purposely doing nothing, and STILL feel guilty about it.

Still, it’s a struggle I’ve gotten under control.  I’ve been hitting over 2000 words daily, between blog posts, personal journalling and occasional poetry writing, the 750 practice words on Secret Next Project, and Lidwells.  My deadline stress is light.  My near-future plans are clear.  The docket is a hell of a lot clearer than it was just a few years earlier.  I can afford to take a writing day off…especially if that day is spent reading and watching other people’s creations with an eye on what their own processes were!  [See what I mean about Writer Brain never being completely turned off?]

I can afford to be lazy every now and again, and not feel the least bit guilty.  I just need to remember to enjoy it!