Friday, June 6, 2008

RE: Rest, renew, recharge...retreat

"We withdraw, not only from the concerns of the world and its preoccupations but from the incessant monologue and concerns within ourselves, in order for something else to come into being."

~ Deena Metzger, Writing For Your Life

As writers, many of us work from home while simultaneously wearing other hats (wife, husband, mom, dad, chef, tutor, chauffeur, etc.). We snatch time here and there for our writing and its supporting activities. Because of that we don’t always have well-defined “work time”. We plot our novel while folding the laundry or work out that character inconsistency in chapter 5 while cooking dinner. Then we run like hell for the office as soon as the kids are tucked snug in bed. Work snakes its way into every moment of our lives. Great for a unique and creative approach to “too much to do and too little time to do it” but murder on avoiding burn-out. Even though writing is our passion, the adage "you can have too much of a good thing" still applies.

There are no clear boundaries to our work life and our home life. Quiet time to ourselves…what’s that? But the hard truth of the matter is that we are headed for a heartbreak in the form of a burn-out if we don’t make time for rest and renewal. And since we are taking a breather from the chaotic and twirly energy of the first draft writing frenzy, this is the perfect time to institute “Fall Back Fridays” – Friday posts all about falling back, resting and retreating.

In The Woman’s Retreat Book, Jennifer Louden says:

“Each of us has a personal periodic, an internal tide, an instinctual cyclical rhythm that alternates between an accomplishing, energetic, doing time…and a retreating, reflective, being time.”

Time to embrace “being time”.

Not sure how to start? Grab a piece of paper (if you journal, you can use that), a writing utensil and a timer. Set the timer for ten minutes, push start and scribble, draw, and/or doodle answers to this question:

“I never have time to _______ anymore?”
* See The Woman’s Retreat Book by Jennifer Louden, page 73

No matter what, keep writing. If you repeat two items fifteen times each, keep writing. Don't stop until the timer dings. Then read back through your list (it may take several read-throughs) and see which item resonates. Maybe your stomach flips each time you read “hike” or your skin tingles when your eyes fall on “take a nap”. Listen to your body’s cues and pick one. Then take a break from "doing" and indulge in "being".

BTW, if "Fall Back Fridays" don't work for your schedule, try "Sanctuary Saturdays" or "Sunday Evening Escape". Just pick a time that works for you and do it. Your muse will thank you and so will your family, your body, your children, your friends...

What did you do for "Fall Back Friday"? How did you feel? Refreshed? Renewed? Excited to get back to writing?

No comments: