I write ever morning, seven days a week. Writing is my drug of choice. It gets me high for the rest of the day, and usually pulls me back into it for a booster in the late afternoon.
But this week I took a break from writing on my manuscript, my blog, even making notes about my characters. For a solid week I did nothing on my computer. I spent that time beside a lake, swimming, canoeing, hiking, reading, roasting hot dogs over a campfire, studying the stars. No phones, no laptops, no radio, no TV. I feel great about that.
I never really realize how keyed up I get when I’m involved in a story, but I do. Like any drug, it sucks you in and gives you that promise of happiness, fulfillment, joy, yet it also undermines the nervous system. And like a drug, you never really realize that fact until you walk away from it, cold turkey. Then it becomes abundantly clear.
I think I get so keyed up because I want to make my stories perfect, each word exactly the right one to convey the idea, keep the mood and rhythm. I’ve become a perfectionist, and that makes writing hard work.
Now that I’m back and looking at my work with a clear head, I’ve come to realize two important facts over the last week:
1) I need to decompress more often. I will help my writing, not hinder it.
2) You really can't appreciate how fantastic a hot shower and a comfortable bed are until you've spent a week in the backwoods bathing out of a pan of cold water and sleeping on the ground. A hot shower and soft mattress are two of man’s greatest creations.