February is a month of holidays, many more than I will name here. Like many people, I would take the holidays off from work without thinking about the reasons behind them. Probably because I was in dire need of one myself.
A holiday. A real vacation. One where I did what I wanted. Even if that was nothing.
Most of my vacations in the past have been around various holidays— Thanksgiving, Christmas—where my focus was on taking trips to visit family or planning meals or straightening up the place. (Cough – Wish I could pay someone to do that last thing.)
But rarely were they a real vacation devoid of the “must do” I place on myself. The “I don’t give a damn what is going on in the rest of the world because I’m happy” time.
I’ve been so obsessed over getting it done. The short story, the novella, the novel… I hadn’t taken a break. While I’ve rested physically, my mind was constantly churning with the next idea. The next plot… And how I was going to do it all.
So I took a vacation from everything. Even my writing. I went to England for a week.
I toured a cathedral and walked cobblestone streets. Explored Madame Toussaud’s waxworks and the Sherlock Holmes museum.
When I got home, I let my body adjust to the time. I didn’t immediately jump on the computer.
What I found was the ideas began to flow again. For the first time in a long while, the words just came to me. I didn’t have to think about them. When I showered, the words of the characters sounded in my head. When I was making lunch to take to work, I just knew how I was going to get them a bit deeper into trouble.
I even wrote a blog post. (Yeah, it’s been a while.)
My advice is this: take a holiday. Even if it’s just a break from your usual routine. Have a latte instead of your usual coffee. Add mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce. Anything to change it up.
I can’t tell you when. Only you’ll know when you really need it.
Now I’m off. I’ve got writing to do.