When I’m Not Writing

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

What don’t I do is a better question.

There are some writers who wake up at 5am to write. That is when they feel freshest, or that the world is quietest, it’s a moment when their brain is still in dream land and so they don’t worry about what they write because it simply flows through their fingertips. If I am up at 5am it’s because I have decided to show up to swim practice. That i will brave the 40 degree weather just long enough to jump into a pool and swim until the sun rises and then some.

Some writers start later, after their first cup of coffee. But I’m on my second cup and still not at the computer. I would like to be at the computer, working on a book or something creative. But I can’t just yet, for today I want to play piano right now. Not for long but a couple of songs. Ones I haven’t played before. Practicing some sight reading in the book I found on the piano which my sister got from the library and left.

And I might plan on writing after that, but we are starting the winter garden. It might be November, and you might think that we should have started the garden long ago. Fortunately, we live in Southern California. I am not sure if Fall has happened yet. There are a few trees which someone mentioned are changing colors, but it could also be lack of water from our drought. So we go to the nursery and by kale, it should do well and Lord knows I eat enough of it.

With errands out of the way it should be time to write, but my stomach tells me otherwise. It needs to be fed and probably my brain to. Cooking will take time. I have spoiled myself with nourishing home cooked meals. These take time. But while they are cooking there is some time to scrawl down some words.

And after I eat there is some time, at least for today. If the writing is flowing then good. If it isn’t, I’ll become restless. Maybe I’ll return to the piano, eventually I will have that song memorized. When that focus leaves I’ll move on to cooking dinner. This will be more complicated and takes even more preparation then lunch.

If the mood strikes, I will take an afternoon nap. The sun will stream in through my window. Wrapped in the suns warm embrace my eyes will rest. I have been up since 5 and my brain needs some time to be still.

When I wake I see the stack of books that I want to read. The librarian doesn’t believe I can read the 12 books I checked out in the 3 week period, but I beg to differ. And before I can decide which of the 12 I see my computer. I need to write. Now. And like the writer who wakes up at 5 am I can see their motivation. I have woken up for the second time today, my brain still half asleep from the joyous nap.

Not for long, because the light is still out. I have time to run through the mountains. There is more energy to expel before I can sit and write, before focusing becomes an option.There is so much restlessness today. More than usual.

There is a slim chance that I will ever have a scheduled time for writing. I will definitely try to sit down every day, crack out a few lines. Whether it be for my novel, a short story, or a poem, something will get written. I don’t know when because I am living life in the meantime. I am breathing in the outdoors, I am living through the words of another, I am creating music.

The words will come eventually. Sometimes too fast. But it is still good. Though they are nearly illegible, they exist.


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