So our Holiday Cookie has been slow-baking in Krispy's oven for a while now. Amazingly enough, we managed an amazing three-four months of cookie-ing back and forth nearly everyday! This unprecedented streak of sheer genius produced a whopping 155 pages of dinnertime story—97,603 words so far. That's nearly 2x as much as Nanowrimo demands! To our dearly beloved friend to whom this cookie is dedicated: You shall be amazed when you read your severely belated Christmas present in its entirety.

Alas, but we have slowed down during April. Krispy has Real Life and I am supposed to be doing Real Life things too, soon. The ball is in her park though and though progress has been slow, it is being made. (Plus she's been working on other exciting writing! Which she has yet to share with me, be it added. *cough cough*) I think we both needed a break—breatherspace!—time to reflect and recuperate and rejuvenate, and at any rate, I think our cookie needs only a bit more time in the oven before it's ready to come out and cool while sending out delicious wafts of sweetness.


Damn if Krispy hasn't posted just as I was writing this post! And more or less on the same topic. With some of the same terms and wording! Clearly we're on the same sort of wavelength.

Well, having read Krispy's post now, most of my random maunderings are redundant as she's already stated them so delightfully well down below. GO, KRISPY, GO!

I shall just add in my two cents. In my writing program, professors have encouraged me to take a break from writing for a while—told me to sit back and not write anything at all for a couple of weeks, except perhaps in a journal. They said it might help give me perspective and time to get re-energized and re-enthused about the material. They said that I just need to power over and through that (writers') block and then I would see the shining light at the end of the clear path beyond.

What I did not tell them was that I was not writing furiously every free hour of everyday like they seem to think I was doing—I work spastically, either in little fits and starts and drabbles, or enormous quantities of unexpected text all at once. (Cookie, mind you, is an exception for some reason. I think the energy of collaboration and the momentum cookie had gained over the weeks helped a lot. A lot.) Probably I should practice writing in a more regular manner, but, well, years of attempting to do so have only gotten me this far so far. Probably I just need more discipline.

At any rate, being in this so-magical writing program, I've learned several things:

1.) Nobody has the same process of writing.

2.) What works for one person might not work for another.

2a.) This includes everything from plotting a novel to actually writing to environment to, well, everything.

3.) Nevertheless, it's a good idea to try all suggestions to see if they work for you.

4.) But if they don't work, then they don't work. Don't force it.

5.) And don't let people force you into it either. This includes professors.

6.) This black sesame-flavored soymilk drink they sell down at the café in little cartons is actually pretty good.

Now seeing as Krispy is being so diligent as to post, bask in free time, and write, I can't let myself not compare to her and damn straight that's a double negative! I'm going to make good on what free time I've got right now and write too!

Krispy prefers not to get Burnt

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.