Failure does not sit well with me. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and often keeps me awake at night, analyzing every nuance of why. The mere threat of failure has always been a call to action for me. So, when I am unable to write or complete a 31-day challenge as I’d planned, I find it hard to accept.
My girls grew up on the adage, “Where there’s a will, there is a way.” And, when things got tough, I told them, “Figure it out. If you can’t go around the obstacle (whatever kind), go over it, under, or through it. You can do whatever you set your mind to do.”
I still believe those are good words of encouragement for anyone. But (you knew there was one), I’ve discovered that advice, like most things, it’s easier said than done. That reality has never been so apparent as in the last two weeks.
Although not often, I’ve shared in previous posts, my struggle with a chronic autoimmune disease and how the last two years have been, particularly, tough. Recently, however, I felt as if I was finally getting my feet back under me and then, I lost my footing, literally. Yep, I fell and injured my lower back and hip. I’m thankful I didn’t break anything, but ambulation has been increasingly difficult and the pain, unrelenting. Needless to say, my desire to write has waned. Thirty minutes in a chair and my body starts to scream.
I’m doing all I can to work through this latest obstacle, but I gotta tell you, the older I get, the harder it gets. Many people experience struggles in their life, mine is not unique. Suddenly Jamie from Live to Write-Write to Live talked today about Conserving Creative Energy and giving herself a time out. We all need a time out from time to time, if for no other reason than to reinvigorate our minds and bodies. But how do we take time away and still stay engaged? Do we need time to recharge or are we procrastinating? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference, but when our body speaks, we must listen.
Since my health has given me a run for my money, lately, I developed a plan to help keep me engaged and feeling productive for the short-term.
10 Things to Do During a Time-Out:
- Give yourself permission not to write. Sometimes, laying down the pen (keyboard) for a day or two clears the mind and increases creativity.
- For a few days, concentrate on the small tasks. Organize your files; read through your social media accounts. On down days, it’s easier to correspond in 140 characters.
- Do research on a current work in progress (WIP), how to grow your audience, marketing, or catch up on reading the books you set aside.
- As ideas sprout, write them down, then leave them until you’re ready both physically and mentally to see where they take you.
- Use the time to edit previous work.
- Or, catch up on reading and researching your favorite literary magazines.
- Go through your files of short stories and flash fiction and pair them with magazines or contest submissions.
- Keep up with your readers by responding to their emails, likes, or comments.
- Prop your feet up, close the laptop and rest; listen to music or enjoy the silence. Both of which are known to inspire.
- Spend time with your family and friends.
I expect I will be back, as best as I can be, within short order. But, in the meantime, I’m giving myself permission to take a time out if I need one. What do you think about taking a time out? Do you have special methods for dealing with personal struggles? How do you keep writing?