Wow, it's been a while since the last post. I apologize since I was the one who specifically promised this wasn't going to be a once-a-month update sort of deal. Real Life has been throwing its fair share of curves at me of late, and sadly, much of my writing has spluttered to a halt (like my studying for certain dreaded standardized tests), which actually brings me to the topic of this post.
Getting burnt out.
We've all been there, whether it was working on a project until you never ever wanted to look at another keyboard again or cramming for finals during that one excruciating week between you and glorious, glorious summer. We come out of these situations, usually, exhausted and possibly zombified. I know I'm not exactly the brightest crayon in the box after a grueling all-nighter or three.
The stress is there in Real Life, Unreal Life, and yes, even in Imaginary Life. And lately, it's been all over, up and down, and inside outside everywhere in mine, and my confidence and my writing have been affected by it. After a particularly trying week or two, I came to realize as I started new habits and reassessed some things that I was burnt out in an encompassing, general way. I was too tired to write. I couldn't concentrate on studying. My kankles made a nasty reappearance, apparently an indication of my physical exhaustion.
In response, my brain (and muse) checked out and went on a break. What essentially started out as my bad habit of procrastination (eh, don't feel like writing tonight) turned out to be just what I needed. A break.
Yes, we have priorities and responsibilities. Yes, we make time for writing/working/sleeping/sports/exercising/watching-tv/etc. if those things are important to us. Yes, we shouldn't just drop a project because things are not going our way. But it's also okay to take time for ourselves, to take a step back and breathe. Man is not machine, and it is possible to work oneself into an early grave (see President Polk).
More importantly, taking a break lets your mind and body rejuvenate. It lets you take another look at things - see the forest and not just the trees, if you will - and rethink the situation. It also helps you cope with the stresses and writers' blocks of life.
The wise Ms. Inkblot had a post a while back about the importance of having fun, where she makes the point that letting go isn't just great for writing, it's great in general. It's essential for not getting burnt out.
Perhaps one of the best things I learned from my meditation class at Cal was "unstructured free-time." My instructor emphasized the importance of giving ourselves time in the day to do whatever we wanted, to have fun, to relax. She told us to write it into our schedules, to willfully set aside that time for unstructured free time.
So, why don't you pencil into your planners some unstructured free time for yourselves. I'm going to go bask in the present moment, and then I'm going to write.