Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Full Stop

And no, this post isn't about punctuation.

The last two weeks or so have seen me doing things I never thought I would do. Using a chainsaw, cutting down trees, dragging said dead trees into the little forest on the side of my house, using drill bits, and axes, not to mention getting cut, scratched, and bitten by every sharp-needled thing God decided to put on his green earth.

The last two days saw me weed-wacking, blowing leaves, moving fences, and hauling downed limbs to the front of the house for pick-up. To say I'm exhausted is an understatement. To say I need a man around the house is blasphemy. I wouldn't trade this for the world.

Yeah, it sucks in ways you can't imagine, but I'm not giving up my independence for one moment. (I'm also trying to show the Monster Child that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to.)

But all this outdoor work has gotten me thinking about why I stopped writing. I've not written anything in weeks. I can't. I'm totally blocked. Okay, I didn't want to admit it before, I thought I was just mentally fatigued, but I'm not. I'm blocked. I've got nothing, nada, zippo, zilch.

I decided when the weather broke I would let it go and just do all the outdoor stuff that I needed to do, and that this in turn would inspire me to get back into writing. Get "real life" settled, and the "writing life" would come back. It always worked before. This time it's not helping.

Writing non-stop for the last 18 months has taken a toll on me. A bigger one than I ever expected. I let my real life stuff get so out of control it's overwhelming me and I can't see the end in sight. And this pushes me further away from my writing. I don't even know if it could be called a vicious circle because to me, it's just a never-ending straight line of neglected responsibilities. So I suppose something had to finally give. And that had to be my writing. I am a "grown-up" after all.

But perhaps this is what I needed. If I didn't stop writing, who knows what dreck I would put out there if I decided to push through. And I definitely don't want that.

So for the time being, I'll be content in my real life. My keyboard will still be there when everything is done. Right?

Tell me -- How do you make time for both worlds? Do you write M-F and leave the weekends open for real life? Or do you do a little at a time?


Stacy McKitrick said...

There's a real life???

I'm probably the wrong person to answer your question, seeing as how my kids are grown and out of the house, and they were that way when I wrote my first book.

You must prioritize what is right for you. The little one won't be little forever. Enjoy her while you can.

And yes, if writing is your passion, that keyboard will still be there.

SA Larsenッ said...

You have a great attitude, Anne. Cherish that. It will return. Think of it this way: you're in a place, right now, demanding that you shift your focus. For whatever reason, this is important. I'm sure on the other side of this you'll realize the reason for it.

Maria Zannini said...

I write whenever I can steal away 30 minutes here or there. But when the weather is good, outdoor work comes first. For the past three days, we've been digging 500 feet of ditches and hubby ran water lines to various new points on the property.

The only thing that takes precedence over outside work is when I have a deadline for cover design work. Paying clients deserve my undivided attention.

Linda G. said...

I'm impressed with your chainsaw usage. That's kickass!

Re the writing: when you deplete your writing batteries with such a long write-write-write push, it takes a while to recharge. I think you're doing exactly the right thing to get back on track. :)

I find that making myself stay away from writing from time to time, until I really crave it again, works well for me. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oops! I knew there was something I'd forgotten.

I'm still bad with the writing, but I'm trying to be better. I actually didn't write much during my vacation in Anaheim. I had planned to, but I was stuck on something, so I spent the time relaxing and brainstorming instead. It worked wonders.

Anne Gallagher said...

Stacey -- Had to laugh. I guess there is such thing as a "real life". And I know I need to cherish the days with Monster as a child. Then again, with mornings like this one when she refused to brush her teeth or hair before going to school is a real challenge.

Sherrie -- Yeah, shifting my focus. I guess that's what I need to call it. And yes, when the time is right I'm sure it will shift back. Right now though, it seems scary because it doesn't seem like it's anytime soon.

Maria -- Holy cats! 500 feet! I don't envy you that, but I'll take your hubby off your hands when I need to put the fence up! Ugh. And yeah, paying clients do take precedence. I did 4 hours last night on a paying client. (Formatting a ms.)

Linda -- Hey, maybe you can use that kickass chainsaw usage in a book sometime. *hint hint* lol
I'm hoping absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm kind of getting used to not writing.

Anne Gallagher said...

Stina -- Ah, vacation. Something I'm looking forward to. But I think I'd like to read. I don't do much of that anymore either.

Sarah Ahiers said...

try not to worry about it. Worrying will make it worse. Just go about things as like normal and the ideas will come back. They always do.

Also, i remember when my sis and I were extending our picket fence. And our older neighbors were kind of shocked that we could handle our reciprocal saw and drill. Power tools aren't just for men

Cheree Smith said...

I try to write whenever I get a chance, but most of the time I spend the entire weekend writing and M-F spending time in the real world, thinking about the real job.

Al said...

you have been busy!
Normally I try to have some time for writing every day.
But with moving interstate, a new day job, and working on the cottage, I haven't written a word for weeks. :-(

Elaine Smith said...

We have been focussing on the cosmetic reorganising etc. but it was time consuming. The work/life/writing balance is always going to be tricky - too many directions. I hope you enjoy the new focus and feel it fulfils you. You can come back to your writing when your other circumstances change or become less demanding. I didn't start writing until my little ones were big ;)


You are not blocked, kiddo. You are letting your innards, your brain rest while you work your outer body. Your brain needs to reboot and when it's time to go back to the computer you'll know. Let yourself have this time off. Myself, I write in huge blocks of time. Then I take huge blocks off thinking the whole time I'll never write again. And then I do the process all over again. So let yourself do what you need to do right now knowing that the writing will come back.
Blessings and hugs from Ohio. Barb

Laura Pauling said...

Totally impressed!

I treat it as a job: mon-fri. While sometimes I write at night or even a weekend night, depending on what's going on...I try my hardest not to let it consume my life. If that means publication gets puts be it. I try to stick with and am sometimes successful. :)

Bish Denham said...

I'm a sporadic writer myself. I can go months, even years without writing anything of significance. I say, let yourself do those other things for as long as you want. The writing will always be there.

If you need/want to, you could just journal for while. Either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, scribble whatever comes to mind without thought of content, whether it make sense or is worth a crap. It's one way to sort of keep those deep inner juices percolating without having to really do anything.

Whatever you do or don't do, know that on some deeper level, in the unconscious, your brain is working. There will come a morning when you wake up with an idea that won't let you go and you'll be back at the keyboard.

It's okay to take a break.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The world is a harsh mistress -- when it calls, it is hard to ignore its demands.

But this is not a break. Your unconscious mind will be brewing over old ideas mingled with new experiences and sensations. Your writing will be deeper for this time of letting the ground of your unconscious go fallow for a season. :-)

DL Hammons said...

When I'm in full-bore writing mode, my weekends are actually devoted to writing. I have a couple of hours of family time each work day...and we try and make that due. Doesn't always work though. :)

jabblog said...

Some say you must write every day even if you throw it away. Others believe you must wait for your Muse to inspire you. I think you should do what is right for you and a break seems to be what you need right now. Ideas will be quietly simmering in your subconscious and when the time is right they will emerge.

Keep smiling:-)