Monday, January 6, 2020

And So It Begins...

There is no escaping it. Today is the first day of a normal work week. No more holiday excuses, no more disorientation about how Thursday feels like Monday or how the short weeks have confused everything - this is a Monday that feels like a Monday and there's no more holidays to blame. Like it or not, we are back to our regular schedule. With that in mind, we also return to our regular writing habits.

After the holidays, I see a lot of creative people fall into two categories. First, there are people who used their time off to catch up on some writing. They knocked out a few short stories, the latest three chapters on their current works, or went through a dozen writing prompts and really got creative, but now the party is over and it's back to the routine. Then there are those who put down their writing pad, set aside the laptop, or otherwise took a vacation from that part of their mind. Shifting gears worked out fine, but now it's time to get back into gear. For both these groups, returning to the status quo just doesn't feel right.

To be honest, it shouldn't feel right - not exactly, anyway. This is a challenge that hits not just writers but all creative types. Spending a little time outside of our usual routine changes us; we grow during this time, and once we do that, our old clothes don't quite fit right afterward. We notice this as we return to our routines, but too often it comes with a sense of dread or this surrender to the familiar. As creative types, we should use these moments as opportunities to challenge ourselves to become more than what we know.

Let's look over the first category - the person who got a chance to do a lot of writing, and now has to return to the other life again. This can feel like withdrawal sometimes, with that regular dose of creative energy now reduced to the occasional fix. This is the chance to make a change in life (not to be mistaken with a New Year's resolution), and find a few extra minutes a day or an hour every week dedicated to getting that creative flow going. When we get a taste of what big doses of creativity can do, we can use this as a prompt to make it a regular thing. It's not easy, of course - nothing worth doing ever is. We just need to take a moment and ask ourselves, "Is that creative buzz worth it?" (The answer should be yes.)

As for the other group of people who take a timeout from their writing side to explore other parts of life, it's always nice to take a break but the return is never easy. I often tie this with the idea of going to the gym, and the parallel has never been more prominent. All week I've heard people in the locker room complain about how taking just one week off from their tennis game left them exhausted once they returned. I've never heard more complaints about aches, sores, and "How could I put on ten pounds from just two damn holidays?!" Yep - payback all around. This is when we need to tap ourselves on the shoulder and remind us why we do this in the first place. I don't go to the gym to hurt myself (which happens). I go to keep my weight under control and the ravages of time at bay. After a week away, I remind myself that those factors are still waiting, and I drag my sore self to the gym. Writing is even more powerful than that. We write for many reasons, and gain a special satisfaction from what we do. Reclaiming that satisfaction might be more difficult, but it's why we do this in the first place.

Every now and then, we need to rededicate ourselves to our craft. The holidays give us a great chance to remember why we do this wonderful thing we do, and how we are better for it. On that note, I am off to the gym - those holidays pounds won't fall off by themselves.

1 comment:

  1. We had a writing prompt at work today for one of the presentations.

    ReplyDelete