I’m home from DFWCon, which means my whirlwind month-of-AWESOME has come to a close. Between a workshop led by one of my favorite authors, an out-of-state trip to visit family, and a weekend spent hanging out with new and long-loved writer friends…well, I’m a little tired.
Factor in the emotional highs (“They like my project!”) and lows (“My query needs pruning, just like most people’s! Epic sadface! I wanted PERFECTION ON THE FIRST TRY!!!”)—and the fact that I’ve spent every free minute working on my project for longer than I can remember—it’s more accurate to say I’m a lot tired.
I’ve been thinking about one of the tips Corey and I shared in our class on Saturday:
Work hard, rest hard.
It’s not easy.
Here’s what I want to do: get up at 5:30 every morning, like I often do, and work until my baby gets up at 8. Pore over notes from the awesome classes this weekend, read craft books until my eyes bleed. (I could do without the eyes-bleeding part, but you get the picture.) Dive back into my manuscript and—*waves magic wand*—infuse it with BRILLIANCE.
And I will do all of those things.
But not yet.
Here’s what I’m going to do:
STEP ONE: Sleep. Because I must. I’ve fallen asleep at 9pm for two nights in a row, and it has been absolutely glorious. My body, my mind, my heart: they need to be re-set before I go pushing them to their limits again. And, oh, will I push them, because writing a novel takes discipline and dedication.
STEP TWO: I’m going to read—*gasp!*—for fun. I’m a very all-or-nothing reader. Once I get into a book, my writing discipline tends to go out the window. Over time, I’ve learned I have to be purposeful about not starting a book when I’m trying to meet a deadline. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve had a reading week, so this week, I’m chilling with books. Other people’s books. (Specifically: two Sara Zarr books + SERAPHINA + ELEANOR AND PARK.) I am always inspired when I read knock-your-socks-off books, and these come highly recommended.
STEP THREE: Enjoy my family. My husband and I tend to get excited about our projects, so much so that our evenings are, like, brew a pot of coffee and work-work-work. (He’s creating this amazing website for writers—it’s a social media site for writers to track their goals and progress while connecting with others who are doing the same thing.) While I’m sure we’ll still do a bit of work, it’s nice to be more relaxed about it. I’ve been a little too set-the-timer-and-FOCUS militant, lately. Balance is a good thing.
After all of these things, I will (*hopefully*) be well-rested and ready to dive back in to working on my project. A concept I’ve been dwelling on lately, in regards to rest, is this:
Rest to be restored, not to disengage.
Though I’m taking a break from the actual work of shaping words into a complete novel, I’m not disengaging my mind. Quality sleep, enjoying life with friends and family, reading to be inspired—these things are all so, so important when it comes to nurturing our craft. My project-specific ideas will be simmering on a back-burner during all of this. When it’s time to sit back down to work, I’ll be refreshed and restored, ready to FINISH this thing.
And I am excited.