Do you ever just get tired? Tiiiiiiired? Tired and uninspired? Or, as we say here in the South, tahhhred?
I’m beat. I just had a crazy month or so, and I’m just feeling sort of depleted. I finished up a huge freelance project this afternoon, turned it in and then felt sort of limp. I knew I should have immediately started following up on queries that I sent out awhile ago, or I should have started sending out new queries. I should have at least trolled some of the journalism and freelance writing job websites for leads–you know, the usuals, like Freelance Writing Jobs, All Freelance Writing, Media Bistro, About Freelance Writing, JournalismJobs.com, etc. Or I could have read some of my favorite blogs by other writers. But I just. didn’t. want. to. I didn’t want to do anything related to work at all.
Know what I did instead? I reread a yellowed copy of Betsy’s Busy Summer by noted children’s author Carolyn Haywood. Haven’t heard of her? That’s because she wrote most, if not all, of her books before about 1960. And yes, the reason that I have this book in my house is because of my mother and her infamous Mom Bomb. It was relaxing, reading about the watermelon party that good old Betsy and her friends had in the summerhouse in the backyard. I read that book so many times as a little girl that I practically knew it by heart. Even today, I felt like I there was still an imprint on my brain from the book.
I think we, as a society, tend to undervalue that type of activity: the kind that lets you rest your brain for a little while. I’m not talking about watching television or playing video games. I’m talking about the sort of mindless activities that are quiet and yet can be active, in a way. Re-reading an old book that doesn’t force you to think hard or analyze. Ironing, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Puttering around in the garden. Little chores or tasks that don’t require a lot of serious thought and allow you to just imagine or let your mind wander.
Too often, we have to either be or seem busy. We (okay, we as a society not we as in I because I don’t yet have one) carry around our Blackberrys and we check them like addicts. We overschedule our weekends and don’t really get to relax. We’re embarrassed to admit it when we sleep in because it’ll seem like we’re not being productive.
I’m guilty of it sometimes. Take today. Even though I just finished a bunch of projects, I felt that tinge of guilt about taking a breather. But why shouldn’t I take a day or even a couple of days to just let my brain recover a little bit? Yes, you could argue that I need to keep looking for work, looking for new freelance clients, finding ways to make more money. And I do need to continue to do that. But I think I needed some time off, just a little bit, in order to be able to do good work again. We all need some downtime sometime. Don’t we?
At least, that’s how I’m justifying it…