Permission to rest?

 

Permission to rest?

It’s almost the end of January as I write this; Imbolc/Candelmas will be upon me in a few days and I was thinking, I ought to write something. I ought to do another Cave post. I ought to celebrate the slow return of the light and the changing of the season. But I’m not going to. Not today, anyway. I may change my mind in the mean time but right now, I’m not going to do it.

It occurred to me that it’s nearly six years since I last completed a full-length novel (the third in the Ashurst series) and since then I have limped along with a number of works-in-progress. One is over 60k words long. I had hoped/intended to finish it last year. But every time I thought about opening the document to work on it, I had this sinking feeling and I thought, “Why bother?” and couldn’t find the impetus to start. It’s the same with four other projects.

I am so tired, so bloody tired, and I can’t let myself rest. I keep thrashing away, trying to recover my inspiration and energy for writing; I write the odd short story, essay, poem or add a few thousand words to one novel or another. I’m doing corrections for the new novel, after the first proof reader has gone through it; I’ve done around a hundred of the three hundred pages. It’s like squeezing blood from a stone (well, not quite like that; the blood comes from injuring your hand, not from the stone. Maybe a better metaphor than I thought). I keep feeling that if I stop entirely I will never get going again and all the hard work I’ve done to create a writing career for myself will be for nothing. If I let go, do I stop being a writer because I stop writing, or can I be like an actor, who spends time doing other things and calls it resting? And what would I do, what would I be, if I did?

I want to rest but I cannot seem to be able to give myself permission.

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10 thoughts on “Permission to rest?

  1. I understand a little of what you are going through… and the news around us is probably not helping. I hope you find a project you can get excited about, and then that will help recover the elan for the others, too!

  2. It sounds like you are crying out for permission to rest! You have a great talent, but you aren’t a machine. Why not give yourself a complete break? Make it a year, perhaps. You are a writer on a sabbatical, refuelling your creativity. At the end of the year, you will know whether you wish to return to these projects or maybe start something else. But it seems to me you are in the mindset of ‘not letting go of nurse for fear of finding something worse’, rather than clinging to the writing because right now it means a great deal to you. And… if you DO decide there are other things you would rather do, then I cannot see you sitting at home staring blankly at the wall wondering how to fill your life – you will get out there and do it. Right now you seem really tired and resentful at the position you find yourself in.
    I hope you find a solution – I’m so sorry to see you so flattened:(.

    • I know I sound resentful; wasn’t intended, just frustrated. My health means that anything I do now is…difficult, so starting anything new to fill my life, as you put it, is a tricky matter. Writing IS me, it’s all I am and all I have talent for but…

      • Of course – I had not taken into account your health issues:(. I certainly was’t intending any sort of critique – just really concerned for you…

  3. That’s a jolly good idea – sabbatical .. but Viv, I empathise, it’s a horrible place when the muse is not there – and in amongst all the troubling mess the world is in, things look bleak indeed. I admire you for managing some writings …

  4. Join you in this rat on skinner wheel existence! The fear of finding it stopped is worse than keeping running…so I need my computer to crash ( as it did briefly today) before I go to buy the pyjamas my husband needs and has needed for months!). It seems permission to rest only happens after ‘The End’ is written? But for us self published authors even that is denied. I think that, above everything is why we wear ourselves out, we have never ‘done enough’.

  5. I hereby, with all power so invested, in due ceremony and circumstance, with the gravity of the post, announce with clarity, integrity, and honesty, declare and joyously grant permission, and nay! Encouragement! to rest, recover and refortify yourself for as long as you need and desire.

    Take your time, maybe learn a new skill, indulge in guilty pleasures. Write when you want to, if you want to. Heck, write really bad stuff >deliberately<, just for the heck of it!

    And above all, be kind to yourself.

  6. It will pass, Viv. Take comfort in that thought. Everything will.
    In the meantime, do not push yourself too hard.
    You are a truly wonderful writer. Please do not forget that. Enjoy the process.

  7. Viv – the you who writes, the storyteller, the dreamer, will not go away with time taken for rest. And the God who loves you and made you as you are will not stop valuing you or the gift he has given over a matter of time taken out. He has time, and he gives it to you, as much as you need. Rest.

  8. Give yourself permission.
    http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/protecting-choice/
    looks like you lost the fun of writing. Find it again. Just writing, not the publishing stuff. Just write, finish those stories.
    I come from a month of reading when I didn’t have time to write anything. Happens. Happened last year with a month of travel and other life rolls.
    Just get back on that horse. You won’t forget how to write.
    Hugs
    Barb
    p.s. happy blogoversary! 🙂

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