I had a very bad day recently.
For three solid weeks, the 100 Day Writing Challenge created a framework within which my creativity flowed. The momentum was high and I became a writing dynamo, eager to start each day and reluctant to end it. Even on weekends, I put in time at the computer, thrilled with the quality and quantity I was producing.
Suddenly, the words wouldn’t come together. My task list felt like a mountain to be climbed. The creative energy that powered me for the last few weeks had been replaced by distracting thoughts and a sense of restlessness. I had hit a wall and had no idea why.
I turned to my writing journal as a means to break through the wall and get back on track. Angela teaches that journaling is a powerful tool for writers. Ask a question and then journal whatever comes to mind, knowing the answer is inside you. The process of writing helps get to the essence of the problem and triggers your subconscious wisdom. I asked the question, “How can I regain my focus?”
Fifteen minutes and several pages later, I had developed a list of random and unrelated tasks that had nothing at all to do with writing. My mind was overloaded with thoughts of home, family, friends and hobbies, things I needed to do and wanted to do, all which had been put on hold these last few weeks. I had lost my balance.
Part of being a good writer is having a wealth of experiences to bring to your work. Every aspect of your life contributes to what you have to say and how you choose to say it. The hobbies you passionately pursue, the relationships you nurture, the emotions you feel as you go through life, the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, all enrich the pool of resources from which your words are drawn. Living fully keeps the creative channel open.
Maintaining work-life balance is critical for everyone, but especially for those of us who work in a field that relies on creativity and focus. Overwork causes undue stress, which in turn impacts our health, our cognitive abilities and emotions, and our relationships. It shuts down the creative channel and takes away the ability to approach our writing with enthusiasm. Angela stresses the importance of creativity in the writer’s life. The quality of our work suffers when we neglect our non-work life.
Caring for body, mind and spirit, nurturing relationships, keeping order in our environment, and allowing time to rest and recharge should be considered necessary ingredients in the writer’s life. It keeps us fresh and focused, full of passion for our work, and ready to embrace the challenges that await.
My journal gave me the answer to the bad-day problem. I took some time off, tended to household matters, had lunch with a friend, listened to my iPod, and enjoyed a quiet evening. The next day, ideas were flowing, words came together, and I regained my sense of direction and accomplishment. The creative channel had re-opened and I was back in the game.
Do your writing a favor. Take care of yourself today.
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