Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Give Yourself a Break

Photo by Roy Chan, via Flickr
I have a problem with guilt, probably because I was raised by a workaholic father who was raised by a Puritanical mother. It is hard for me to do nothing. It is especially hard for me to write nothing. Because that’s who I am, see? I’m a writer, so if I’m not writing, then guilt spreads its snarly tentacles throughout my brain. The unfortunate part of this mindset is that guilt does not produce much.

So when I talk to other writers, I advise them to not be like me. Here’s what I tell them:

Take a day off and do no writing at all. Don’t even turn on your computer. Forget you are a writer. Pretend you are a plumber, or an accountant, or a scuba diver. Go for a walk. Call your brother and give him some advice. Go shopping and buy something you never thought you’d wear. Go swimming at the YMCA to exercise more of your body than just your fingers. Take a bubble bath. Sing folk songs at the top of your lungs. (You can sing in the bath if you want.)

It doesn’t matter what you do on your day off as long as you don’t write anything. Not even a check or a shopping list. Pretend the keyboard, the pens, and the pencils have been sprayed with vile chemicals that will make all your hair fall out immediately.

Do this exercise at least once a month. Eventually you will become sane again.

Sometimes I even take my own advice.

Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 12 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 45 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit kimpearson.me.

6 comments :

  1. Those guiltless days off are priceless! I often use mine to read, read, read.

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  2. Great advice, Kim. If we don't take those days off to recoup some emotional and creative energy, the well might run dry.

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  3. Hubs and I are workaholics attempting retirement. Can't say I have been successful. :)

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  4. Just had a whole weekend of that spending time with my granddaughter. Good advice.

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    1. Yes, my grandchildren too make great escapes from my "musts"

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  5. When did writing and sanity get on the same page? A gifted writer is a genius, and we all know geniuses are crazy. LOL. On a more serious note, a day away from the computer and all other forms of writing renews the spirit and promotes inspiration. Great post, Kim! :-)

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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