Down Day

I had a down day Saturday. I don’t mean the Amazon glitch where books are disappearing out of author pages and invisible when searching – though that did happen to one of mine. No, I mean I sat down to get ready to prewrite for sprints in the morning, and nothing was coming. I had a beautiful day, I had a clear schedule, and I had no words.

When I complained to another author, she asked “Usual self-care checklist?”

Sleep: 7 hours.
Food: not hungry yet, too early.
Caffeine: Yes. Coffee and Tea.
Hydration: Yes, one mug each (large) coffee and tea, and working on my third mug of tea as we typed.
Sick: no.
Allergies: present, but not bad enough to need medication
Medications: Yes, all taken
Sunlight: Accomplished while checking on and watering herbs.
Burnout level: so complete I don’t even want to do grocery shopping today. All the strangers in the world can hie off with their required social interaction.

…oh, that might be the issue.

Work has been very people-intensive, without any of the usual downtime to recover. I had noticed the half-hour lunch was starting to feel like 5 minutes although it was the exact same amount of time as always. And the first day off of that, here I was, with my brain informing me that if it was any more burnt, there’d be a terrible stench in my nose.

So I took the day off. Aside from folding a load of laundry, all I did was read half an old favourite – MCA Hogarth’s Mindtouch – on the couch with a cat on my lap, and then finish it sitting outside in a camp chair getting daylight. Then I baked cookies, and took them to group dinner.

Only after coming home and taking a shower did my brain finally stir. Under the fall of hot water, it said, “You know, you need to go back in and layer in foreshadowing here and here for this thing in the latest chapter.” So I did that, and now I’m writing this post while it’s mulling over what my poor characters are going to get into next.

I may get more written – or I may go to bed. Either way, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because it wouldn’t help.

Take it easy on yourself, you hear?

5 comments

  1. Coffee for me, on my second mug of my daily three at the moment.
    But do include at least a couple of large glasses of water as well.
    And good on you both for taking a bit of a break, and for making progress in the current work.

  2. Sometimes you need the time to just let your brain heal. If you’re doing exercise you’re not used to, you need to take a rest day to let your body repair itself, and that includes mental exercise. The words will come back as you rest as long as you don’t ignore them when they do. And sometimes you just need to let the last little bit percolate while you do something else.

    Be gentle with yourself and treat yourself as if you’re somebody worth taking care of.

  3. I know I’m running on an edge of burnout due to classwork and general life stuff. My life kind of seems good from the outside, and it’s not bad from the inside. But, lots of little stresses and lots of stuff to pick at the edges.

    Need to write the next novel.
    Work out an actual ad campaign for the novel(s).
    Find work that isn’t warehouse work or such, before unemployment runs out.
    Get ready to do other things, if needed.
    Have skin tags removed so that they’re gone.
    Maybe have a few days off. Even an overnight to get out of the house.

    What I want is to hit a convention or three and have that kind of fun. But, probably won’t be until the end of the year at best.

    It’s all just sort of keep calm and bugger on for the near future, I think. But, doesn’t mean we can’t get ready for the next part of what happens.

  4. Characters go quiet sometimes. Usually they’re yelling “I want to shoot THIS friggin’ guy!” so I have to type faster, but sometimes not. I go through times when all they do is kissy-face, and other times when they’re sleeping.

    Lately has been the Time of Plumbing here at Chez Phantom so I’ve been playing contractor. Amazing what you can get done with a phone these days. Also the roof of the Phantom Redoubt needed a new one (when the corners of the shingles curl up, you know you’re not going to get away with another year) so we have that joyful time starting Monday.

    Previous week we had the Time of Repairs, as both lawnmowers and the truck decided they needed to crap out on the same day. Let us now give thanks for warranty coverage. ~:D One lawnmower remains busted, I’m going to have to MacGyver that one. It’s old, things need to be welded.

    Consequently my brain has been busy doing Real Life(TM) and my characters have given me a break. I’m sure they’re saving up for some epic misbehavior later, like two straight weeks of kissyface and not a single shooting.

    Maybe I should finally let them shoot the Jysetha Gun. I’ve been holding that thing in reserve for 5 books, threatening all kinds of dangerous side effects and assorted mayhem. Might be time to use it on a Bad Guy.

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