Wednesday, September 13

#WriterWednesday: Taking The Time

Here we are in the middle of another week - are you feeling the stress of getting kids to school, meeting deadlines, fixing breakfast-lunch-dinner everyday infinitum, attending unlimited meetings? And then coming home to write and meet deadlines and critique and revise and submit...and then get beaten down by rejections? Yeah, it's a vicious circle and yet we writers do it all the time because...sometimes we get that high of a 'we'd like to see more' or 'we'd like to buy your book'.

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?

7 comments:

  1. It's so important to take care of you. Easier now, but it's still hard to consider it a priority.

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  2. It is! And that's a whole other blog post, isn't it? Why is it so hard to make self-care a priority?

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  3. Great post, Kristi! Yes, down time is so important, but when I'm slammed with 3 projects and another one on the way, book promo, guilt about not writing, etc., it's hard to make time for me. This afternoon, mani/pedi with sis--that should be a nice break!

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    1. that's a perfect way to get away from your desk, and out of your head, Nan! Hope you have fun!

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  4. For me, it's early in the morning after Mike goes to work but before the girls get up. Just enjoying a cup of coffee, reading, and enjoying the solitude.

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  5. You're very smart to figure out what works to relieve stress yet takes very little time. I wrote about trying to find some "me time" earlier this year but I haven't done everything on my list. I haven't found that "thing" yet that's just for me.

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