Monday, February 2

Two weeks

          The Wranglers have been talking about “two weeks” lately.
          When my kids were teenagers, adolescent suicide became what felt to every parent of every kid like an epidemic. It was scary. I remember telling the kids that if they ever felt hopeless and unable to talk to anyone about it, to please, please, please wait two weeks. Because even though two weeks won’t go all that far in healing most wounds, it will make them bearable. And then when things get bearable, I said, give it another two weeks. This was in the 1980s—I’m still giving things two weeks.
          Susan, who is the instructor in the Silver Sneakers exercise class I attend, is like the Energizer Bunny—she never stops. Like many of us in the Midwest, her favorite part of winter is when it’s Over. Since Christmas, she’s been saying spring will be here in two weeks—it’s almost April, after all. She’s visiting her son in May—that’s in two weeks. I haven’t yet reached the point of believing her (or keeping up with her) but I always leave her class encouraged.
          One thing about writing is that no matter how much you love it, especially when it’s going well, sometimes you just...don’t. Sometimes you don’t want to do the whole butt-in-chair-fill-the-empty-page thing. It’s not writer’s block, really. It’s more like writer’s winter, when all you want is for it to be Over.
          That’s where the two weeks comes in.
          When your wits’ end is approaching, give yourself two weeks. You can take them off, work on another project, or do something else entirely (I get lots of sewing done). You can even say you’re quitting and plan a whole new life without a laptop at its center. You can watch television, read some of your TBR pile or something off your keeper shelf that fills your well, or do nothing at all.
          Your two weeks can last two months, two weeks, two days, or two hours. However long you need for things to slip back into place. For your writer’s winter to be Over.
          I have eight inches of snow outside my office window, and the wind’s blowing it into drifts I don’t even want to think about. I have to miss a hair appointment today, and my hour in Susan’s class. But I’ll have lots of good writing and sewing time.

          And spring’s coming, you know. Just two more weeks.

Liz Flaherty

16 comments:

  1. Thanks, Liz! I needed that this AM. My writing-hiatus two weeks is now into its second year and counting. But I needed your wise thoughts today. Hope you're out and about soon.

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    1. Me, too! Thanks for coming by, Judith. I hope you get your writing mojo back--it's good stuff.

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  2. Great advice, Liz. I wouldn't mind taking two weeks off at a few things in my life right now. Thankfully, writing isn't one of them...this time.

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  3. Great advice, Liz, thank you for sharing!

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    1. I like what you're doing with your two weeks!

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  4. Great post! I really think writers need "two weeks" respite once and a while-- just to rejuvenate their bodies and brains, to see the world around them and get a new perspective, and to "enjoy" life without feeling guilty they're not writing.

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    1. Absolutely. And not just writers. Like Sandy said above, sometimes you need time away from other things!

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  5. This is a great way to looks a life. My two weeks ends today. My writing group is doing a challenge that involves goals and spreadsheets (which I'm not in charge of, thank the gods) and I'm starting today (new month, new me doncha know). My well is filled to overflowing and I need to irrigate some pages. How's that for a metaphor, hehe?

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    1. Good for you! Good luck with all that growth you're cultivating! :-)

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  6. Yup, sometimes we need a break from writing. I've never given myself two weeks, though. To me, that sounds like an indulgence. ;)

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    1. I've never not written for two weeks, either, Chrys, but I HAVE gone two weeks without worrying about a book. Usually mine falls more into the two-days range.

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  7. Two weeks--it's a good amount of time, really. I'm at the two weeks since sister's memorial service, six since she passed, and the grief, although ever-present is subsiding slightly. The ache is a little less sore and the smiles at memories come a little easier. I still have moments of "Oh, God, my sister's gone! She's gone!" but I now have more of knowing she's not really gone at all. She's right here with me, in my heart, encouraging me to live, live live. The new book is getting ready for release and the next one is percolating...yeah, I like the whole two weeks thing--no matter how long it is... Thanks, Liz! Great post!

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    1. I like that it doesn't matter how long it is. :-)

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  8. Love this advice. I think it can fall into so many "hard" aspects of our lives. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It kind of hit us at the right time, didn't it? Glad to see you, Margie!

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