Wednesday, September 13
#WriterWednesday: Taking The Time
I live for those moments.
Still, we all need a little downtime - away from the manuscripts and files, away from the write-revise-submit machine. We all need a little downtime to recharge the batteries and get back to doing what we want to do. The question is: how do we recharge without losing our momentum?
For me, the key has been realizing that if I take a little time each day, I don't need a week off - and that week can lead to two and then three and then six months later you've not written a word. So, everybody needs a little downtime. LITTLE, people, because those little moments can add up to a lot.
First step: Know what you need. Downtime for me is going to be different than downtime for you. For me, the best way to take 'me' time is to grab my iPod and sit out on our deck or the in-laws dock. Just listening to the music, sun on my face... In those moments (even in the winter when it's cold and my butt is freezing to the dock) I can clear my mind of manuscript issues or worries about submissions and just be.
Second step: Make the time to step away from your desk. Most of us don't do that, especially not on a daily basis and it can be hard. But - as the personal trainer task masters would say - if you don't have 10 minutes for yourself you're killing yourself. For me, mornings are for busy work - writing blogs, prepping ads, playing on social media, catching up on email...you know, the 'work' tasks. Afternoons are for fiction writing. Evenings are family time. It's easy to skip from busy work to writing to family and never take a second for myself. What I've found is taking the 30 minutes before bebe gets home from school to just be - maybe read a little, maybe walk around the neighborhood, maybe just sit on the deck and enjoy the sun - I'm much less likely to stress out, feel overwhelmed, or find a million more little jobs to do.
Third step: Figure out what relaxation techniques work for you. We're all different and we all need different kinds of 'me' time. So, figure out what your time is: sit on the floor (or the sofa), close the blinds and close your eyes, and think about being totally relaxed and picture where you are in that ultimate-relaxation-space. Keep that image in your head and figure out how you can bring that peace into your daily life. For me, a beach is a perfectly relaxing place, but the dead of winter in Ohio is not the place for a beach. So I bring other elements of the beach to my relaxation time - sometimes it's happy/summer themed music, sometimes lighting a candle (I love the Salted Caramel candle from Yankee Candle..the smell is total summer-at-an-amusement-park for me), sometimes it's sitting in the sun on the back deck. Whatever your place is, bring it to life and for a few minutes every day, sink into it.
Do you take a little daily downtime? What are your tips?