Do you remember how excited you got when school was cancelled due to snow? No school, no homework, plenty of fun, and snow! Well, last month I had a snow day, literally and metaphorically. You see, lately my job has required a lot of overtime. I clocked about 15 hours per week in January, and this schedule will not change much for the next few months. Overtime had become routine, until one day late in January I had a Saturday off. Not because I got snowed in, not because I got caught up on my work, but because the computer program I use was down. That really put things in perspective. When all you see is what you have left to do, you never get a chance to see what you have done. How stressful!
So what did I do? Well, that is where the coincidental snow comes in. The last time I had fun in the snow was not long before I was hired, about a year ago. On that day, my young cousin, my mother, and I all got together and built a giant "snow worm", our most creative and memorable snow-day ever. The snow wasn't deep enough this time, but you know what? We got together that weekend. We played in the snow anyway. I took pictures. I had fun. And I didn't do a lick of work, writing or otherwise, that weekend. Because I called in a snow-day.
How wasteful, right? Nothing had been done on my work or my writing, and things needed to be done. There are so many pages left to write on my Victorianesque vampire novel. There is so much paperwork left to process and sort through at my job. "So many". "So much." And all negative. My perspective was dangerously narrow and it took a day off to remove the blinders. After all, "so much" may be left to do, but "so much" had been accomplished--and I had forgotten until I had a day off. Now I remembered that while there may be so much left to write on my novel, I had developed so many exciting ideas on so many areas on that series. And while there may be so much work to do at my job, I had processed so many requirements and as a result so many parts were being made or in the process thereof. Not wasteful at all!
When we were children, the snow-day itself was the reward. But as writers we can use that day to get excited about all we have done and become motivated about our day-to-day routine again. So whether time finds you or better yet you find the time, take a long break and do something unrelated to writing that you really want to do. And do it. Watch a movie. Take a walk. Read a book. Listen to music while soaking in the tub. Just don't fill this time with chores to do or extra time at work. Rather, go play in the snow. Writers need snow-days too.
The same thing that happened to me can happen in any writer's life. Are you busy writing toward a goal that you don't think you can reach? Is the only thing you can see is how much work is left to do? Well, Bonnie Goldberg, in her book Beyond the Words, has some good advice on that topic. She says, "[S]ometimes for all the good reasons there are to write daily, there as many equally good reasons not to write daily. [...] Not writing allows time for percolation to take place, gives your creativity time to replenish, and gives you the distance from your writing to gain perspective on it." The thing is, it shouldn't take circumstances beyond your control to give you the chance to do just that in your life. Don't wait for the snow to call in a snow-day.
Need some suggestions on how to do just that? Click here.