Monday, February 27, 2006
A Day Off: To Be Or Not To Be
Many times I feel like I must be using every spare minute I have free to write. After all, I don't have a huge amount of free time. I am the mother of two small children, run a resume writing business, am pursuing publication, and am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, critique partner.... The list of duties is never ending. For every task checked off of my To Do list, at least two more are added.
I take my writing seriously. My biggest dream at the moment is to publish a book. That means using whatever stolen moments when my brain is functioning to write, edit, or plot.
But yesterday, I took a day off. As in my husband's favorite line from the movie Office Space: "I did nothing and it was everything I thought it would be."
While the children played and my husband watched television, I read. The kids and I played outside and we had Make Your Own Pizza Night for dinner, but after the kids were in bed I watched a movie and read some more. All day I felt relaxed and drowsy, even indulging in an afternoon nap. It was everything I thought it would be.
But I should have known I wouldn't get off scot-free. The first thought that raced through my mind this morning was "Do you know how much time you wasted yesterday? Can you imagine the things you could have accomplished with all that wasted time?"
What is it that forces us to feel like we must make every moment productive? Yes, I could have gotten chapters critiqued, written several pages, prepared for some upcoming family events or, heaven forbid, cleaned house. But I didn't. And I refuse to feel guilty for that. The main reason I rarely indulge in a day off is the guilt. For every "free" day I spend 3 or 4 more beating myself up for wasting time.
To paraphrase Maven Linda Howard, life is the fodder for our books. If we spend every spare moment writing, we aren't living. We can't feed our imagination or create well-rounded characters (okay, I could easily create a workaholic or a control freak), if we don't even have a few spare minutes to let our creativity take flight. So why do I feel guilty? I probably need someone to give me permission to relax. Sad, but true.
What is it that you do to relax? Do you continually put it off so you can check things off of your To Do list? Do you read, scrapbook, sing, garden, watch movies, listen to music? You officially have my permission (such as it is) to indulge yourself this week. Let me know how it works out for you.
And if you have any suggestions on alleviating the guilt, I'm all ears! :)