It’s important to take a break from things when your head goes fuzzy and your eyes cross. This is why I am writing this short, this article, this whatnot so I can take a break from writing my third book. I’m writing for Nanowrimo, the writing challenge where you write a book during the month of November. It has to be fiction and at least fifty thousand words. Last year I wrote 51,035 words in 27 days. My brilliant editor says that some of them even make sense. She has that book now and I’m sure she might be drinking heavily but I don’t believe the two are related. I am working on another novel this November. I would say it keeps me off the streets but anyone who knows me knows that is a bold-faced lie. At least there is no red sweater involved, just a yearning to find some fun, a great plate of pasta, a pint or a fine red wine and some laughter. So to date, 11 days in to this writing challenge, I have written 21,736 words, which is ok considering I took two days off to play hooky.
So you might wonder why if I am spending hours and hours writing a book I would take time out to write this piece. I don’t really know, but I suspect that is why we are here. Ok you are here because you are killing time, procrastinating on looking for a job, calling your mother, cleaning the cat box, or doing laundry. Yea I know, you are my peeps, so you are using me as a diversion. For me this is an exploration of crazy, of why is writing this different? Or is it? Maybe it’s like coming home from vacation exhausted and thinking, ‘wow what I need is a vacation.’ But something has flicked on in me that I hoped would. That one day after struggling to find my voice, my words would just come. Some days are easy. Some days harder and halting, none of the words feeling quite right but they are there to be tapped none the less. And that is what I do: reach down, step back and allow it to flow. I don’t judge, clearly you can see that from reading my stuff, I just toss it out into the black abyss and sometimes it sticks. Sometimes someone says, “Wow that’s me.” Other times the cat box cleaning gets delayed for 5 minutes. It’s a crapshoot really, but that’s okay because I did my part.
Writing, making art, creating is taking a break from your thinking brain. I know some engineers out there that have to jump out of planes for such things but some of us don’t have to go to those extremes. What I do is trust and allow what happens to happen, even if it’s bad. You have to create bad to get to the good, simple as that. Not doing it, waiting, planning or structuring the living day lights out of something just makes it neat. Neat is rarely interesting, and perfect is dead boring. God save me from perfect, that’s no path for a curious girl like me to wander down. So taking a break and stepping back to let go is fun. And a little dangerous because I never know where I am going. I live my life a lot more like that these days; less planning and more seizing the opportunity that is presented. Sometimes that opportunity is just a different blank page.
So I ask you where is your blank page? Is it on a dance floor, in your studio, at the roller rink, a blank canvas, or writing a cool little software program? Where is it you may want to take a break and let go? Where in your life do you want to explore, play and bust expectations of what is good, worthy, or comfortable? For me it is everywhere, on most every front and a few I haven’t tripped over yet, but hey with my propensity for tripping that opportunity happens daily. I have found that life is short; people come and go at an alarming rate. Why not fill up some of your pages so folks after you know you were here and left a mark that was purely you? Really isn’t it time to take a break?