An Honest Day of Rest

In response to Mr. Pond, Enter the Cogwheel, Exit the Pear

All right, so last week my post to the blogalectic was a little on the pessimistic side.

Mr. Pond responded with a cheery, laughing piece that balanced out the gloom:
[T]wo things can be true and not be in contradiction. My writing doesn’t matter. My writing does matter. The end. I’m writing.

This comes after a couple of weeks in which the blogalectic had to wait on various adventures involving life outside writing. I went on a road trip and picked huckleberries. Mr. Pond made haggis. During some of that time, my blog was silent for a week, and for several happy days, I only thought of my story when it suited me (and even then, I made no plotting or problem-solving efforts whatsoever).

This is the internet, so I guarantee I will not have been the first person to say this. But I'm going to say it anyway: It is very good to have a break from writing.

One of my common claims is that I am never bored. (Never, at least, except in those inescapable I'd Rather be Elsewhere moments—waiting rooms, long lines, etc.) I'm good at not being bored because my mind is usually so full that down time is a relief; I can think through things. A lot of times, I think through whatever I happen to be writing about at the time, which means that a lot of this year's down time has been spent working on my novel.

I have a lot of determination—something necessary for a writer, but it can cause me problems almost as easily as it can help me. Determination made me a whitewater raft guide, and then it made me swim the rapid that finally broke my unsteady nerves. Determination made NaNoWriMo almost easy, and made possible the first revisions by a self-inflicted deadline; of late, it's been pushing me near burnout on the story.

A little rest from that taskmaster, be it the mildest of hobbity excursions or merely an honest day of rest (I'm still not good about keeping myself out of the book on Sundays), can put great blocks of the writing life back into perspective. Might my work be disliked? Of course it will be—different people need different tales. Might I have a hard time getting published? Even the best do. But that's all right. Because I have reasons for writing, and those matter more than the difficulties.

I like the way Mr. Pond put it:

As Tolkien wrote just before the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, ‘I have held up my heart to be shot at.’

Is it still worth it?

Conventional wisdom (Ouch bad, Spa good) says no. But something inside us—something that keeps us standing outside after dark in hopes of seeing an unknown star, of finding a new planet—says, ‘Rubbish—I’d be doing this and loving it even if all the facts in Europe were raining on my head, and on fire.’

Even when we’re sitting in tears at the computer... that something is dancing on a mountain in a thunderstorm.
That something gets a day of rest today, because Lou has today off and I want to spend more of it with him than with my computer. I'll keep this post shortish, and won't put myself through the two-hour daily story stint that is my latest working goal. Tomorrow, I believe, the dance will be all the merrier for the rest. Let the rain fall, then.

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