This past week I took an unintentional break from blogging, from morning pages and nearly all creative writing. I say unintentional because I simply couldn’t bring myself to write. All creativity and drive to share my words seemed to disappear.
One of the struggles is the feeling of guilt that comes with this seeming failure. But is it truly a failure?
Rest is necessary. We sleep at night though some of us get more than others. We get breaks at work. And then there are weekends, the ultimate break. Counting down until Friday is a national pastime I think.
Slowing down is a good thing. Stopping is another issue altogether.
During my hiatus, I struggled with guilt and putting pressure on myself. I have goals and things I want to accomplish, yet the paralysis that visits occasionally didn’t allow for me to move forward with any of them.
The first thing that I do when I realize I am struggling like this is to give myself a break. I stop the negative self-talk and put downs. Life can be overwhelming, and none of this is helpful.
Next, I decided what was the minimum that I needed to do during this time. For me, that is keeping my writing habit. I strive to write a minimum of 500 words.
So that is what I did. For these days I didn’t care what I wrote, it could be (and often was) garbage. I simply put words on a blank screen. Even when I wanted just to forget it all, I wrote my 500 words.
In some way, this has worked. Here I am working on this blog post. I think I had a breakthrough on my novella, and I even wrote a poem, which most likely will never see the light of day. I’m not sure how everyone else is but the pressure I put on myself, whether intentional or not, tends to kill all creativity.
An interesting thing happened as I was working on this task I’ve set for myself. A couple of days ago my husband and I were on a long drive, and I didn’t get up in the morning to write. To accomplish my daily goal and on top of the drive, I still needed to write. My only opportunity was to write on my phone on a long forgotten app called Hanx Writer.
I found Hanx Writer, created by Tom Hanks last summer. This app is designed to give you the feel of writing on a manual typewriter with the convenience of using your phone. Since I hadn’t remembered that it was on my phone, I haven’t used it a lot. I guess it was time.
Opening a new document, it didn’t take me long to realize that things were different.
I am writing this post on my phone and know the technological shortcuts to make this easier. Hanx Writer doesn’t have these.
When ending a sentence, I have to find the period key and strike it. In most apps, I need only to double tap the space bar and the appropriate punctuation appears.
The same goes for spell check and capitalization. My thoughts and writing had to slow down, and this blog post was born from that experience. I still managed to get my 500 words in; however I also learned that I am dependent on technology.
I encourage you to try the Hanx Writer, even just to get a feel for what it was like to write on a manual typewriter. Taking breaks is also helpful from whatever you are currently facing. Life moves fast and slowing down is so beneficial. We can miss the best things if we go too fast.