Energy Management for writers

I have more or less returned to my normal writing schedule after returning from Japan, but I can’t say the same for my energy. It’s always hard for me to get back into the flow of work after time away Especially creative work. Writing feels like a chore. 

I find myself needing snacks and tea and more frequent breaks to get through the day. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many of us have been overworking for so long that it has become habit. I know I have, and I’ve been unpacking the web of reasons for this ever since last year’s Covid spell. 

As I’ve been pausing more for breaks I’ve been unpacking the things that I do to “rest” and to what degree they’re actually restful and restorative. A cup of tea and a 15-minute meditation? A few moments spent reading an essay in an anthology? Sure. Those pauses recharge me. Watching a video on YouTube? If it’s a fun video, not an educational one I’ve saved to watch later, then yes.

Taking a break to switch the laundry or finish up the batch of yogurt that I’m making (both of which I just did)? Not so much. I still need a break and now I’ve squandered half an hour not working, not writing and not recharging. 

When it comes to your work/life/creative needs, what behaviors are you rationalizing that you know, deep down, don’t work for you?. 

WFH life has many of us mixing personal needs with professional work days. There is nothing wrong with the occasional load of laundry in between work chores, but it does me a disservice when I pretend that it’s the same as resting. I’ve noticed that I default to these housekeeping chores when I’m not really sure what else to do with my time.

It’s easier to give myself permission for something like laundry than to sit and read a book, even when I know the book will be more inspiring or useful to me in the long run. I’m trying to cultivate a practice of slowing down and thinking about what I could really use in these moments. Over time I’m hoping these small changes will bring that sense of balance that is so often missing from the creative life. 

What small changes are you trying to make to manage your energy? 

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