Spring break has come and gone at my house. My writing routine was interrupted by family and travel. I felt frustrated and, at the same time, relieved. I had reached a point where I was struggling through the first draft of my new novel. I didn’t feel inspired. At the same time, I was waiting for comments to come back on Goddess, Book 2. I tried to enjoy my break from writing, but I was afraid that if I didn’t keep working, my creativity would drift away like the ebbing tide.
Now, vacation is over and I’m mostly back to my regular schedule. Yes, it was difficult getting started again. But vacation gave me time to think and feel instead of write. I came up with some new scenes and mulled them over in my mind during break. When I went back to work, I began to write them down. It started out painfully, like getting back to running after a patch of sedentariness. But then my creative muscles began to stretch. I got excited again about the pages I was writing. It felt good to be back in the flow. I learned that ebb and flow are a good thing for a writer.
I need to remember that.
It’s summer, in case you haven’t noticed. Time changes in many ways. The days get longer. Sometimes they’re lazy, sometimes harried, but they have a very different feel than the rest of the year. For families, the regularity of the school year is on hold. Instead, there are camps, playdates, trips to the beach, and too much time watching Netflix. (At least for my kids.)
It’s difficult for me to make the transition to summer. I feel guilty that I’m not writing more. I’ll allocate a few hours to write, but I’ve forgotten I have to take a kid to an appointment, or I have to run a forgotten lunch over to camp. The day gets away. I’ve lost my rhythm. My writing suffers.
Then it’s time to head out of town for an extended family trip. I leave writing completely behind. After a day or two, I don’t miss it. Instead, I focus on scenery and family time. I allow my brain to recharge. The chapter I’ve been struggling with will still be there when I return, but perhaps I’ll have a new perspective on it. I keep faith with the idea of process, not results. Taking time off is part of the process. I’m still a writer even if I don’t churn out several thousand words per day. I give myself permission to take a break, to recharge, to live life outside the page.
Happy summer, everyone. I’ll see you when I get back!