Jump Off The Hamster Wheel
I am addicted to productivity. There. I admitted it. I’m either making a list of things I need to accomplish. Actually doing things I need to accomplish. Checking off things I’ve accomplished…or feeling guilty over not doing the very things I should accomplish. 😊 My therapist told me I needed to work on letting go of all this. Anyone else there with me? So when I planned my writing retreat for this month, I though it would be just like all the other writing retreats I’ve been on. The goal has always been to get as many words as humanly possible during the period of time while I’m gone. After all, how else can I justify spending that time away from my family and using my precious PTO from the day job? But that’s not how it actually worked out this time. I did get writing done…but this time I actually spent time doing, well, nothing. And I’m not a nothing kind of girl!!! But my brain simply wouldn’t focus on the story. Or at least, not the writing of it. I did some planning. I did some plotting. But none of it was measured by productivity. And that was a little weird, to be honest. Usually my brain is going 90 to nothing. So I found this disconcerting but possibly a step in the right direction. A chance to let my brain work out whatever it needed to. And it helped me come home with a better perspective on some things. A determination to enjoy the small things (which isn’t easy for me, but I’m trying). I guess all of that quiet, thinking time just reinforced some of the things I’ve been trying to come to grips with over the last few months. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with mental health this year, hoping that others will realize they aren’t alone and we can all help each other. How do you help quiet your mind? What’s your favorite fun thing that gets your brain off the hamster wheel? Take care, Dani Don't forget to check out my Secrets of Covington Corner series! HAUNTED HERITAGE is out this month! Amazon B&N Kobo Apple books Goodreads--Add To Your TBR List!
Reading Goals, Anyone?
I have a confession to make: I’m not a reader. Let me clarify: I used to be a reader. But between the day job, struggling to get words, and overwhelming stress, I lost my love of it somewhere. Every time I thought about picking up a book, I just turned away. Then I took a class called Write Better Faster by Becca Syme in an attempt to break through my writer’s block. There I learned about my top 5 Strengths (Clifton Strengths testing). Lo and behold—all of them had to do with INPUT. Basically, my brain runs off of learning things. I have a craving for knowledge and am rejuvenated by the learning process. Except I’d stopped that process in its tracks by not reading much at all. The occasional non-fiction book or magazine was the only exception. No wonder my brain has basically stopped working! After taking Becca’s class, I started making an effort to read more, but it was haphazard. I would start fiction books, but not be able to finish them, no matter how interesting they were. I had better luck with non-fiction, which I could let sit for a few days, then come back to them and eventually finish. I’m not entirely sure why this was so hard, but I have a few suspicions.
- The issues going on in my brain related to the writer’s block made it extremely difficult to focus. What little “focus power” I had went to my day job and writing tasks, so there wasn’t much left for something I viewed as less important: the reading (boy, did I have that backwards).
- There is an idea I’ve been dedicated to for years: refilling the well. But until this very stressful time, I didn’t put it into practice with as much dedication as I should have. Then again, I didn’t know that part of what I needed to fill that well was knowledge! We often think of refilling our wells, or “self-care”, as things like taking baths and having our nails done. But our strengths give us certain needs that, when fulfilled, renew our energy and our enthusiasm far faster than anything else could. I’ve experienced this first hand!