A Clear Head

On Christmas Day, I emailed my pilot script to the studio… even though I knew nobody was there to read it. The script is due at the network next week, so I wanted to make sure it was delivered in time for me to get notes on Monday, do a quick revision, and still make our deadline.

Over the last three days, I did something I haven’t done in months: I didn’t write a thing. I didn’t even think about writing (ie plotting the next book or script).   I didn’t even write anything for this blog.  I couldn’t even summon the interest to read a book or watch a movie or catch up on all the TV shows cluttering my Tivo.

I wanted nothing to do with story.

It felt good.  I think I could probably use two more weeks like that, but it’s not going to happen. I have a very busy couple of months ahead of me of writing and business-related travel (to New York, Germany, Seattle and Sweden).

And yet, I also felt strangely guilty… as if I was playing hooky or being irresponsible. Afterall, it’s not like I don’t have more work to do and looming deadlines to meet. But there was nothing pressing on me, not like the deadline for my last MONK novel or for this pilot script. I had the wiggle-room to give myself a couple of free days. 

So I cleaned my office, did some errands, and took my family on a spur-of-the-moment trip up the coast to Morro Bay and a first-time visit to the Hearst Castle.  I didn’t bring my laptop. I didn’t even bring a paperback book (then again, it was only a day or so, hardly a big sacrifice).

And now I’m back, procrastinating here on my blog, before starting to write again tonight. It’s only been three days and yet, I’m feeling rusty, as if I’ve lost my momentum. 

Silly, isn’t it? I have got to learn how to relax a little bit.

6 thoughts on “A Clear Head”

  1. You and me are in the same damned boat. I intended to take a couple days off, but kept writing on the novels, and that was fine, I was sleeping in, working when I finally got going and being relaxed about what I was doing (just trying to keep some momentum going). Then one of my clients called with “notes” and everything went haywire and I ended up working 9 or 10 hours on my so-called vacation day. I feel like I need a week or two somewhere without cell phones or Internet connections. And yeah, my office needs cleaning, too.
    Happy New Year.
    Mark Terry

  2. Hey, Sweden! Where abouts, Stockholm? If you need any hints of handy Swedish phrases let me know. Seriously. If you have time and energy, try to take in what is called ‘Gamla Stan’. Beautiful part of Stockholm. Means ‘Old town’ by the way.
    The Double Life was absolutely brilliant. Now awaiting the last one…

  3. Great choice on a mini trip. I visited my sister in Santa Maria a few years ago and took several day trips in the area, with my visit to Hearst Castle and seeing the sea lions below being one of my favorates. The massive amount of European art he brought back to decorate this museum is unbelievable. I think for a small town girl from Idaho (at the time) it was my first realization that the rich live in a different world than I do.
    Here’s to writing.

  4. You know Lee, I feel like I’m in the same boat as you and Mark, no wonder why we writers like to take sudden time off and not have a wind to write, but than all a sudden it hits ya like a jacknifed tractor trailer down Interstate Five!
    Yeah, my office needs cleaned too, go figures, were in the same boat, literally.
    Happy New Year, btw.

  5. Sheesh! I can identify, sadly, with the “guilt trip” of taking time to enjoy myself. After my horrific episode of being an identity theft, bank fraud, and credit card fraud victim, I took a mental health break in a quiet retreat where all i had to do was recline on a comfy couch and watch classic movies (my great joy, or browse through a well stocked library and catch up on pleasure reading. Every time I saw a book by an author whom I personally know, I felt guilt pangs for not writing. I got over that in about three weeks. After that, I gave myself permission to just relax and enjoy myself. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. Thankfully, I am now able to enjoy writing, and enjoy not writing (briefly).


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