Almost a month ago I moved house. The weekends and evening the month before moving were taken up with packing boxes. Since then my week days have been busy with the start of a new year at art college and my free time has been taken up with teaching two weekend classes, and settling in. Because of all this I haven’t posted anything for a month, but this is good because I wanted to change things up anyhow, and it’s true- a change is as good as a rest. Both is even better.
The beautiful thing about this break has been the way my inner critic has been. I’m not just talking about my writing inner critic here but the inner dialogue that beats me up and tries to make me feel bad about everything. This last month I’ve noticed my relationship with myself has changed. I’m so much more peaceful with myself and this is because I’ve got great tools and processes, and because I know and trust myself to do the right thing for me.
In past as soon as a few days had passed without any writing my inner critic would jump up and start badgering me about how utterly shit that was. I would feel immense pressure to write but also feel utterly unable to have a cohesive imaginative thought because I was feeling so bad. Now I can trust myself to know that I’m going to write and create new and wonderful things despite having a break. Now I recognise that sometimes not writing isn’t a block but rather it’s a holiday and everyone deserves a holiday now and then, even authors.
Holidays and rest-days are so important. I’ve taken some days off work recently too. It’s so nice to wake up in my own time and have some whole day free to do ‘whatever’. Normally in my life I have plans upon plans upon plans. Every day I leave my day job with a list of writing work I want to do. I work hard. This make me tired but it also makes me happy. Creating stuff is great. But having these plans on top of moving house and teaching two classes was way too much, so I’ve allowed myself a break.
I’m not sure how your writing practice goes but this is a ground-breaking change for me. Like I’ve said before there’ve been periods where I’ve had a block and felt awful for a long time. To be gentle on myself like this is astoundingly good. And it’s worked. I feel refreshed. This morning I woke up and worked on a piece for my monthly writing challenge for my writing group. The challenge was to create a piece of flash fiction (800 words exactly) which included the words lemon, packet and vigorous. The deadline is midnight tonight. And it’s done. So’s my laundry. So’s this blog. My pictures are up on the walls of my new place, and I met up with my friends too. All really good stuff. With the moral of this story being it’s really fine to give yourself a break, in fact it’s essential and very healthy. So if you haven’t for a while, switch off and let yourself recharge.