Dictionary.com gives this definition for malaise, a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy or discomfort.
That totally describes my feeling today. As you know, I spent most of last week at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Then, this past weekend was a holiday weekend. So it feels like a long time since I’ve kept regular working hours. Because of this, I’m finding it hard to get motivated.
Now I’ve written about this subject before, and I always try to build in some recovery time after Blue Ridge, but for some reason this year has left me floundering more than usual (please, no one remind me it’s because I’m getting older). Definitely NOT a good thing, I have deadlines looming and I need to be on the top of my game. I looked more closely at my situation and even those it’s slightly different, the same three issues are the root of my problem.
- Mental Fatigue: like I mentioned, I’ve been at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference—and with all the preparation time I put in to get ready, I’ve been living in overdrive for just under two months.
- Disrupted Routine: I’ve discovered writing takes a certain set of mental muscles—and mine are woefully out of practice.
- Insecurity: yep, you read that right. I’m the poster child for low self-confidence when it comes to writing. I find myself fighting against that voice in my head which insists everything up to now was blind luck and I’ll never write another publishable word again. You’d think coming off the high of being with other writers would give me confidence. Not me, instead it feeds the you’ll never be that good with this kind of competition voice that lives inside my head.
Having ferreted out what I think are the root problems, I immediately put my previous plan into action. Here are the steps I’m working through to get back into my regular routine:
- Mental Fatigue: I’ll be watching the clock and taking frequent breaks during my workday to stretch and walk around my house or neighborhood. I’m convinced exercise is the key to breaking through this roadblock.
- Disrupted Routine: for this, I’ll be very dogmatic with my schedule. Watching the time I spend on specific tasks will help me make up lost ground in the quickest way possible. This kind of discipline will also help build back up my writing muscles.
- Insecurity: this one is a little trickier. I’ll be building in rewards for accomplishments—like lunch or coffee with a writing buddy or a trip to the local bookstore. This will help me begin looking for my successes, as well as easing me back into a regular routine.
So how well does this work? In the past it’s worked well, although not as quickly as I want. Truthfully, it will take me at least until next Monday before I’m one hundred percent. But, if I don’t start taking action I know from experience it’ll take even longer.
What about you? Have you ever dealt with a similar issue? If so, how did you ease back into the real world? Any advice . . . warnings? I’d love to hear from you.
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