I’ve got to be honest with you — I’m starting to get run down again.
I’m hitting that point where I feel like I’ve got too much going on, and it makes it hard to really focus on getting anything done. Between lots of auditions, constantly growing a business, learning to communicate with a new client, trying to find time to write fiction, a few financial hiccups, and multiple trips to see family this month… well, I’m feeling a little frazzled.
(I want to stop and clarify that I love my family, and I’m so glad I can pack up my computer and take time to go visit them. But traveling to see family is not the same as lying on the beach for a week, you know? It’s not a vacation.)
When I feel pulled in this many directions, the only thing that really gets me back on track is taking some time off.
Take Time Off To Get Inspiration And Reconnect With Your Work
I don’t need a week or a month or anything too drastic. What I need is an afternoon by myself, away from deadlines and word counts, rediscovering something inspiring that I can bring back to my work… that does it for me.
1. Going for a walk: Don’t walk with a destination in mind; just enjoy being outside. Take in your environment. Observe. Enjoy.
2. Browsing Pinterest: Images are so inspirational. Sometimes I find that they motivate me, sometimes I find that they give me little budding ideas of things to write about or change in my own life and work.
3. 8 Tracks: If you haven’t explored this website, you absolutely should. People put together the most amazing mixes. There is something for whatever mood you either are in or want to cultivate.
4. Bookstores: I love books. So bookstores and libraries are my happy place. I love to discover new authors by randomly selecting books I don’t know. I also love to browse cover art without looking at the jackets and see what story ideas occur to me.
5. Art museums: I’m lucky to live in Philadelphia, which has some of the most amazing art museums. (Though if you live in DC, you’re even luckier, because the museums there are free!) There are few things I find more inspiring and relaxing than an afternoon taking in beautiful artwork and learning about the lives of the people who created it.
6. Sitting and listening: Also known as eavesdropping or people-watching, depending on how cynical you are. I like to get myself a latte from a local cafe and sit outside if the weather’s nice. You never know when something you overhear could trigger a great idea that you can bring back to your work.
7. Free writing: (To be clear, not writing for free.) Sit down with a pen and pad of paper. Start writing whatever comes to mind. Let the words flow free and see what happens. I’ve also kept a journal since I was about 5, and I find that equally relaxing and mentally clarifying.
8. The Opening Line: Another website I love. I’ve never actually submitted any work to them, but I love to see what their prompts are. You never know when they may spark and idea.
9. Playing an instrument: I’m not the best piano player in the world, but I always enjoy coming back to it. After half an hour just focusing on playing the music, I find that my mind if much calmer and clearer. And usually, if I’ve been struggling with an idea or question, I’ll find that I’ve come up with a solution without realizing it.
10. Old projects: We all have them: those ideas we once loved but tucked away. Take them back out, mull them over, and give it another go. You may find that the change of pace shakes something loose in your mind, or that a second try is all it needed to make that particular project shine.
I think tomorrow will be my inspiration day: a time to find my focus, reconnect with what I love about my work, and come up with some fresh ideas.