When you just can’t.
People will say writers write everyday. People will also say that writers read everyday, and they will say that writers will do something writing-related everyday.
Because that’s what writers do.
People who tell you to be skinny say work out everyday. Smart people say you have to study everyday. So on and so forth everyday blah blah blah yaddy yaddy yadda.
Here’s the thing, we live in a media-saturated world. From Facebook to Twitter, to television and Netflix, that list goes on and on too. Hell, I am attached to my smartphone. When there’s nothing going on around me, I pay attention to it, because something is always happening. To make matters worse, I stop reading to check Facebook.
If that’s not pathetic, I don’t know what is. I am in the process of training myself to get off my goddamned phone. Not that it isn’t useful to have around, but when I find myself checking it before bed only to switch to another app to listen to a story at night before I fall asleep? There’s something seriously wrong.
I actually miss the days when the internet wasn’t so much of a thing.
More often than not, with all of the media saturation, I find myself on edge and twitchy, unable to settle down for any length of time because I need the instant gratification that the iPhone has now provided me with. This in turn has made it to where, many days, I don’t feel like writing.
I have a system when I write: I sit at my desk, printed manuscript on one side, notebook in front of me, three or so pens to another side, lamp on, headphones in and music on. The music is keyed to the book, specific songs all compiled into a playlist to trick my brain into thinking about my book. I’m able to zone out and write. On a good day, I can lose myself so deeply in a chapter that no matter how late it is, and how much I want to be going to bed, I have to see what happens next. On a bad day, I’m glad to be over with the writing sprints so I can go to bed. Good or bad day, I’m still keyed up when the headphones come out. So what do I do? More mental stimulation. Which leads to an overload and nights like tonight where I know I SHOULD be writing, but I’m watching terrible hunting channels with my dad instead.
Sure, I feel bad about not writing. Realistically, had I started at 1930 hours, I probably would have been done with Carousel’s edits. There’s only a few more chapters left.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I went out today with dad to lay deer corn and a trail camera. And I was treated to the rare wonders this
god awful State has to offer.
Obviously I still had my phone on me, or else I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture, but for the first time in a long time, I didn’t care that I had my phone on me. I cared about not falling into a hole, or tripping over a rock, or about how frakking quiet nature is.
Here’s the thing, if you can’t write today. Or draw, or interior design, or be a functioning person with higher brain capacity, that’s totally cool. What you can do is get your ass off the couch (or the bed, or the chair) and go outside.
Nature is there, nature understands. Maybe not why we’re trying our damnedest to kill her off, but she understands that thing that you’re going through right now. Nature has this wonderful ability to make us and our problems feel tiny, she gives us the ability to re-connect with a part of ourselves that is seriously lacking in our interconnected world.
So, if you can’t write or art today, disconnect. Leave the phone on the table and take a regular camera. Grab your dog and a bottle of water and go for a hike. I guarantee you, that problem you’re having with your story? It’ll fix itself as soon as you get back.