So you’re sitting in a barrel on the Canadian edge of Niagara Falls? Can you imagine it? It’s an illusion of course. (Might make for a dramatic beginning for a poem or a story.) Wait, didn’t Shane Peacock already describe the falls in his 1995 book The Great Farini: The High-Wire Life of William Hunt?
On this sunny Sunday, who feels like working? Not I. How about you? I dare you to shut off the computer, stretch your legs and get outdoors before summer is over. You know it’s going to happen, that sudden transition into autumn when the petunias turn brown and ice crystals form in bird baths. As for prying an obsessive writer from a keyboard, that’s another story that needs to be recorded. Don’t forget another deadline that can’t be missed!
A few years ago, I met an experienced writer who told me he hated writing.
“Why do you do it?” I had asked, perplexed because I had assumed that all writers loved to play with words.
He mumbled back, “because there are these demons that I cannot shake.”
I wish I had the time to do a do a scientific study on: how many writers hate their chosen profession or at what point does the “fun” disappear? “It’s in our blood, right?”
However, there is a danger, as the cliché goes: to working to the bone and to tread treacherous water without a life jacket. I am old enough to remember when Sundays were considered a day of rest: when introverts could nourish their needs to recharge their batteries and extroverts could visit friends or family for the day. No wonder some writers feel burnt out.
So before you throw a tantrum and get frustrated with your writing, make a list of all the other creative activities you could be doing instead: read a book, take a stroll, a nap, a drive, visit a new area, bring along a video or digital camera, try your hand at sketching or painting, listen to music, or experiment with Photoshop Elements or Publisher or another creative computer program. See how refreshed you will feel! If you are still feeling guilty, just call it research for your next book. It works for me, every time.
P.S. What? No photos of the Falls? I need an excuse to go back. Hope to see you there with your pen and paper.