Friday, May 6, 2011

Stepping away from the keyboard

Writing is not a nine-to-five job. The muse doesn't give you weekends off, holidays or vacations. Even if you're not sitting at a desk typing away, adding word count to your latest manuscript, its likely part of your brain is still turning over plot problems. Letting a work-in-progress consume you is an  easy thing to do. But it's not a good thing to do.

Every writer has a variety of commitments beyond their writing. There's also things you like to do, hobbies you enjoy. (I do not consider writing a hobby.) Movies you want to see. Whatever. Sometimes you have to step away from the keyboard and honor those other commitments and sometimes you choose to step away and spend time with family and friends or doing something else you enjoy. And that's perfectly okay, a good thing, even. The last thing a creative person wants to do is get so burned out that they don't even enjoy the act of creating anymore. A little time away from the keyboard, away from the work-in-progress, might even be just the thing your brain needs to work out the latest plot problem or character issue.

Besides - you have to live in order to translate your experiences into fiction. Its important to remember that. I hope wherever you are has the same beautiful weather we've got here today, and loved ones to share it with. Right now I'm going to go search my fridge for something to grill and enjoy the rest of the day with my husband. The work will still be there later, waiting for me to bring the next chapter together (and boy, is it going to be a doozy).

Remember to step away from the keyboard sometimes and take a look around you. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.


Nerine Dorman said...

Since I grown more serious about writing, I can't watch movies anymore. I don't listen to the radio and I sure as hell don't watch TV. I do read a lot more since I've instituted a two-hour weekday reading slot while I commute on the train.

Carolyn Arnold said...

Sometimes it's so hard to allow yourself to step away. For me, there's that little bit of guilt, but you're right, it's important to step away from the keyboard. And, also as you said, it will be there later anyway lol And I'm with you, writing is not a hobby, it's just something I do.

Anyway, I'm going to be taking that advice and enjoy the sunshine (and BBQ'd meat later today too). And I'm not going to feel guilty...not going to feel guilty...maybe if I repeat it lol ;)

Sonya Clark said...

Nerine, I've got way too much of the ADD ooh shiny syndrome to have that kind of laser focus. ;)

Carolyn, I know what you mean about feeling guilty. Sometimes I practice what I preach, sometimes I don't. Especially in this case.