I really liked this article I found over at Cata-Romance - and not just because it gives me permission to goof off and take time for myself without feeling guilty about it.
Nor is this concept new to me - I believe Julia Cameron calls it something along the lines of Refilling the Well. But Ms. DeStefano approaches it slightly differently, in a more down to earth manner. And there is no doubt she's right. As writers we DO need to take time for ourselves. Even if it's only a half hour walk a couple of times a week. It's amazing what can come into your head while you do that.
If it's too cold to walk and you belong to a gym, FORCE yourself to go there. No matter how difficult it is to pack that bag and drag yourself over there, DO IT. The number of writing related epiphanies I've had while on the treadmill or eliptical trainer is incredible. My only problem is that I have to REMEMBER them. Have been tempted to carry a small voice recorder with me, but am not quite certain what people would think if I whippped it out and noted necessary changes to my love scene! Might get me some funny looks.
What I've found is that by moving away from the computer and doing something physical, I free my mind, allowing it to work in a different way. Rather than forcing things out onto the computer screen, giving my subconscious time to work by itself while I run or walk and listen to music seems to jump start it. Often I won't see the results until later - not all epiphanies happen while I'm puffing away on the exercise machines.
A walk in my neighbourhood, especially on a sunny day does equal wonders. I'm lucky to live somewhere I have access to wooded areas where birds sing, creatures ander and the air is reasonably fresh. Rebalancing my life is easier when I remember to take the time I need to take a deep breath and just enjoy something as simple as a walk. Or, in the case of yesterday, a trip to the Clinique counter
Most of us tend to juggle so many things - whether we have children or not. Our significant other, service to our chapter/RWA National or another writers group etc. As this article makes clear, our muse likely drowns rather than deserting us. We have to treat her with respect. And not get down on ourselves when we spend less time than we think we should at the keyboard.
You've likely noticed a running theme in my blog posts about the writing I do in my head - it's there for a reason. I truly believe that even when I'm not putting fingertips to keys, I'm still writing. Just have to remember that I can't use that as my excuse all the time. At some point I have to empty what's in my head or things will get too crowded in there.
Just remember to be good to YOURSELF. Allow yourself time and space to be just YOU. Whether it's outside, at the gym, in a bookstore or a coffeeshop. Or even lunch with friends! You are MORE than only a writer, wife, mother, newsletter editor - you are a person with private needs that must be attended to on a regular basis.
Many thanks to Ms. DeStephano for her insight :-)