Blogging challenge 5 – letting your mind breathe

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself – Franz Kafka 

I’m self-employed and most of what I do revolves around writing. It means that I get to spend long hours alone in my study hunched over my computer trying to get words down on paper or reviewing other people’s work. It can be a lonely business.

If I’m not careful it can mean totally forgetting to take care of myself and finding that I logged on at 6am to get a quick piece done and it’s now 6pm (or later) and I’m still in my pyjamas, unwashed and largely unfed. I’m lucky my Mum lives with me and is a great source of tea.

I love what I do so, barring unforeseen circumstances, that side of the equation isn’t up for discussion, but I know that I need to get better, more disciplined about looking after myself.

I have times when the words are just flowing and I would rather gouge my eyes out than break the flow. When it all just comes together and I am in the zone. Being disciplined about when I write and planning what I’m going to achieve both work well for me. I’m sure we all have days that go this way. But just as often we are struggling – writing and rewriting constantly. Staring bleakly at a blank sheet of paper that refuses to offer up any inspiration.

And that’s why I’m trying to learn to walk away. To go for a walk, cook up a storm, watch a movie – even have a conversation with a real, live human being – anything to give my subconscious time to work through the block. Anything that gives me the opportunity to be inspired.

So I lose a few hours of time when I ‘should’ have been working, but if working actually involves nothing but sitting getting more and more frustrated have I really lost anything? I don’t think so.

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