I took a week off from everything. From blogging, from Instagram “working,” from reading, from doing anything after my 9-5 job other than taking a nap and watching TV.
I realized something a week and a half ago. I was on an overnight trip with my writer friends, and my friend Kammi (who apparently will come up often here) was talking on the drive home about how she had woken up and worked on her book for a little bit. And she had also worked on it the night before. (We are not going to talk about what I was doing. It was the side effects of too much/sugary alcohol on my body and it was not pretty). Waking up and writing, or doing so before bed, sounded stressful to me. It did not sound like something I wanted to do at all.
And that made me realize something. I could not remember the last time I felt like I enjoyed creating. The last time that I felt like waking up early and spending time with my writing or coming home from work at night to work on a new, exciting project. I had been working for weeks and weeks, slaving away at blog posts and Instagram captions and reading so that I could write book reviews later. And I wasn’t letting myself actually enjoy any of it. I was exhausted, and I was dreading working more after work every single night. I was thinking of creating as a chore.
This is not the type of relationship that I want to have with my creativity. I had my head stuck too far in the future, and every time I sat down to write I came to it thinking about how I would suffer through how hard life is right now so that I can have a good life later.
I do think that it’s important to recognize and work towards goals. But it doesn’t help anyone to lose the ability to look around and see all of the great things you have in your life right now.
And then on Sunday morning, after a week of nothing, when I woke up, I was drawn to open up an old journal next to my bed. I turned to a page randomly and found a journal entry in which I talked about how writing was a sacred place to me, about how I have been training to be a writer my entire life, from the picture books I made as a small child to the moody teenage poetry written on black paper with gel pens in junior high to the many novels I began and never finished from 10-25. This is something that has always been a part of me. It is vital to my existence.
I lose my way sometimes. I forget that at the center of everything, I write because I love to. I forget about the joy. Today is the first time I’ve sat down to write a blog post and felt excited about it in a very, very long time.
But that’s where I’m going to focus from now on. On how happy I am because I have these hours after my office job every night to just create. I am so, so grateful for that. And I wasn’t for a little while. But I’m back again. And if and when I lose that joy, I can take another break, and I can remember again what this feels like.
My heart wasn’t in this, for a little while. But it is here, now. And I cannot wait to see what happens next.