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When the Writing Doesn't Happen
This bear understands me.
This week. Whew.
I am great at planning. For things I actually have to leave the house to do, I take into account drive times and meal times, and I add extra cushions in for breaks at the intervals that I know I need. If something needs tweaking, I usually recognize it way before it gets out of control.
I schedule writing times like it’s my job. I mean, part of it is my job, as I have a certain quota I have to reach for my copywriting gig. But I know that, just like the pieces I get paid to write, the creative writing won’t magically get beyond the good-idea phase if I don’t set aside specific times to do it.
Sometimes, though, life does get out of control, and the plan derails. Then the writing doesn’t happen, even if by all accounts it should have worked.
I always feel a little sad when this occurs, but not as much as I used to. I’m learning to be gentle with myself and not push past the obvious signs that I need to take an unscheduled night or weekend off, such as an increase in irritation or an extra dose of sensory sensitivity or falling asleep in my chair in the living room in the early evening. Or taking me all day to write this post rather than the less-than-an hour it usually takes. At those times, it’s better to go ahead and adjust my schedule over the next few days to make more room for rest rather than try to push through whatever plans I have to write. Pushing through will only lead to a crash, no matter how much I tell my brain and body that there’s no call for that sort of behavior.
This week is one of those times. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the calendar - there’s not a lot planned. But I am shuffling a few things and canceling a couple of other things to create larger pockets of free time before it becomes an emergency.
One of those things is a writing session I had scheduled for Friday. I am prepared for it. I have outlines and everything. But what I am going to need is eating pasta and watching a couple of episodes of Merlin and cozying up with a book and going to bed early if I feel like it. And, depending on how that goes, maybe not leaving the apartment at all the next day. So that’s the new plan.
Since I’m prioritizing rest these days, I am noticing that I’m not as hard on myself when I have to skip the occasional writing session. That’s a nice change from the guilt and imposter syndrome that left me questioning whether I even was a writer at all. I do not miss that. If that’s all I learn from this fallow season, it will be time well spent.