“I am not a hero if I deny rest; I am only tired.”
– Susan McHenry
When we were kids, we were given a naptime.
But now that we’re adults, having a “naptime” is seen as a luxury.
Workaholism is so prevalent in society today that it has become the norm. It’s gotten to the point where anyone who doesn’t spent most of their time working (even on the weekends) is seen as “lazy.”
Even taking a week off for vacation makes you feel guilty—as if you’re doing something wrong. As if taking a sick day, or a day off, is an act of grave injustice against American society.
Pardon my bluntness: but that’s all idiotic.
There is nothing wrong with rest.
Chances are, if we feel tired, then we are tired—and we need a break.
And what’s so wrong with taking a break every once in a while?
I’ve discovered that, sometimes, the greatest obstacle to our writing is actually a rather simple one: lack of rest.
My Battle With Rest
I have to be honest, I really hate it when the whisper of my soul tells me:
Usually, instead of actually resting, I get angry at my soul:
“No, no,” I tell it. “I can’t rest right now. Are you kidding me? I have to be a Writing Robot—a machine that keeps churning out the gold!”
But, despite my protest, the whisper of my soul remains adamant:
“Rest,” it repeats.
“But I have to get this chapter done,” I cry. “I need to fix this plot point! I can’t rest.”
“Rest,” my soul repeats.
I’m embarrassed to say that, often times, I don’t give in to my soul’s well-meaning guidance.
Instead, I keep plowing through the work.
But do you know how many drafts I had to toss out because they were done in a state of unrest? Do you know how many blog posts you’ve never seen on this blog because they were conceived in a state of unrest? (At one point, I was going to publish an incredibly boring post that compared writing to traffic school. I kid you not.)
I’ve written way too many useless, unsalvageable crap in a state of unrest, and it has been one great, big, idiotic waste of time!
How much time have we all wasted on something that we knew was junk (and would always be junk) simply because we were too stubborn and wanted to live up to the myth that a good American, a great writer, a model human being is one who never needs rest?
Too much time has been wasted trying to prove that rest is a luxury and not a necessity.
We’re so lucky that Rest has unconditional love for us. Rest sees us fighting against it, and yet, it still waits patiently for us, until we finally give in to it.
When we finally give in to it, Rest brings us in close and hugs us. We fall into its soft, warm embrace and we admit to it that we had no power over it in the first place.
But Rest makes no judgments on us. She just takes us in all the same.
Take A Rest Today
Hey, sometimes we just need rest.
To deny ourselves rest doesn’t make us cooler, stronger, amazing, or more capable human beings. No, denying ourselves rest only makes us really really tired. And cranky. And stressed. And kinda mean. Let’s face it: abstaining from rest makes us jerks. We’re like Simon Cowell having to wear a pair of kid-size tightie whities on a rainy day.
So, please: let’s stop torturing ourselves. Let’s leave the writing for another day.
I know. This is heresy, right?
But although some might believe that to be a good writer you have to write every single day—I respectfully disagree.
I believe that sometimes you just need to take a good, long rest from writing in order to get better at it.
Close your laptop. Kick up you feet. Stretch your fingers. Take a sweet yawn. Lay that heavy head on a pillow… because all that work can be done later.
The work you’ll create in a state of unrest will be unsalvageable crap anyway. So why not rest, so you can create better work later on?
It’s not being lazy. It’s being healthy. (It’s also being really smart because it makes you more productive in the long run.)
Yeahhhhh. That’s better.
Forget about waxing philosophical—forget about “waxing” completely. Just “wane” for now.
Go ahead. Take your “naptime.” (The work will be there when you’ve been properly “rebooted.” Don’t worry.)
For now, just busy yourself with not busying yourself.
You deserve it.
> > > Blog Update: I’ll be taking a much-needed rest from the blog the first week of July. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing some C2C classic posts with you. I’ll be returning with new posts on July 9th. Note: I will NOT be moderating or approving comments until AFTER I come back from my blog break. So if you don’t see your comments for a while, that is why. You all have a great 4th of July!