Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Boost Your Writing Creativity with Time Off

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’m not always the brightest bulb in the batch, and what others learn quickly sometimes takes years to sink in. But one thing I have learned is this:

Time off is rarely time wasted.

My natural tendency has always been all or nothing. I go and go and go . . . and then I drop. Not really the healthiest way to do life.
I think part of the reason is that I’ve always equated down time with wasted time. But I’ve discovered that downtime, instead of being wasted, is when those create reserves are refilled and renewed.

It’s really hard to get water from a dry well.

In recent years I’ve worked hard to rewire my automatic responses. I’ve forced myself to build time off into my schedule. And I’ve been a much healthier and happier version of me.

Here are some of the things that work for me:
  • Weekends off are now the norm, NOT the exception. I just function best on Monday, if I have Saturday and Sunday for rest and relaxation. That means little or no time on the computer on those days. I’ve learned that if it’s urgent I’ll get a text or a phone call. Everything else can wait. One other thing I’ve learned by taking weekends off—if I don’t, pretty soon EVERY day feels like Monday.
  • Families come first. My good friend, Lynn Huggins Blackburn said it best. “Sometimes writers don’t write—they bake cookies.” I wouldn’t trade the years I had as mommy to three growing boys. No best-selling book in the world would have been worth passing up that time. The same comes with hanging out with my parents now. Time is limited, and I try to never forget that.
  • Relationships matter, and beyond that, they need nurturing to survive. This goes beyond the obvious family relationships. I’m talking about friendships here. Time spent going to lunch, or on the phone. By spending time with the people I care about, I show them they are valued.
  • Field trips are time well spent. I took time to visit a museum over the Christmas holidays. No one could go with me, but I just wanted to go. I couldn’t have given myself a better gift. Take time to explore the cool places nearby, you won’t regret it, I promise!
  • It’s okay (even encouraged) to have hobbies that have NOTHING to do with writing and/or reading. Many of you know I love to take pictures. I also love to do crafty things like knit and journal. Beyond that, I have a group of craft-minded women that I meet with occasionally. We sit together and work on projects and creativity seems to just hang in the room. And none of these women are writers. But I always come away with a renewed enthusiasm for writing.
How about you? What do you like to do to unwind? Share your tips for renewing and relaxing in the comments section below. Who knows, we may decide to visit a museum together and have a cup of coffee!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie 
 
TWEETABLES

Not even a writer can get water from a dry well - @EdieMelson shares the wisdom in taking time off (Click to Tweet)

11 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Ms. Edie. Too often, I've tried digging new wells when mine ran dry. All that did was worsen my situation. Wise beyond your years young lady. Great counsel ma'am. God's blessings...

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    1. Jim. I love that word picture! Thank you for sharing! Blessings, E

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  2. Hi Edie,

    This is a wonderful reminder. I, too, often run myself too hard. I’ll definitely need to remember this as I prepare to move. This past weekend, it just didn’t happen. I was worn out from running myself ragged.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

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    1. Laurie, we seem to always be hardest on ourselves! Blessings, E

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  3. I love playing board games and tennis. I am always reading but I don't know if it counts as time off when you are a writer.
    Great post, Edie.

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    1. Ingmar, for me, reading counts as "learning" time. :-) I bet it does you also sir. Although, there's little better than getting lost in a great story is there sir.

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    2. Ingmar, as long as your reading for pleasure, it counts as time off! Blessings, E

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  4. Oh Miss Edie, I love you and your timing! Great advice. Balanced and helpful, as always. Just getting back from a break that kind of worried me, but that I now realize I needed. My energy and focus have definitely sharpened. Thanks so much for your constant inspiration and thoughtful shares.

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    1. Jill, I'm so glad God used me to keep you from believing a lie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

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  5. Needed this - the pace of life, the work...it all seems urgent. I'm a worker and it's hard to let the "to-do" pile rest. Wisdom I needed - thank you. P.S. What I like to do when I do unplug...garden, cook and build stuff.

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  6. Boy do I hear you loud and clear. I've been struggling with procrastination and excuses about not doing a writing project I feel the LORD is calling me to do, because I'm so busy. So when a six week hiatus came up with one 2-day weekly obligation, I cut another weekly commitment too. Now I've measured out these six weeks to finish the project. I'm even saying no to some fun craft and women's group meetings. (I will still read The Write Conversation. It's time well spent and often spurs me onward!)

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