When I last posted, I was deep in rewrite-mode, the write-until-your-eyes-blur-and-then-get-up-early-and-do-it-again sort of rewrite. I was trying to meet a deadline and, due to a family crisis or three (don’t those always happen at the most inopportune moments?), operating on a limited time schedule.
I met my deadline (yay!).
And then left on vacation—in Cozumel (double yay!) where, unlike my lovely friend Charissa, I did not even attempt to blog.
In fact, I barely wrote at all. Not even on my shiny-new-can’t-wait-to-work-on-it work-in-progress which, if you’ve followed me for long, you know is a little weird. I’m all about writing everywhere, practicing writing in all sorts of situations, finding inspiration in (and taking notes on) new settings, experiences, and people.*
And those things are important, but sometimes your muse doesn’t need to work harder or try harder. Sometimes your muse needs time to refresh, recharge, and rejuvenate.
Try this handy-dandy quiz** to rate your need for a break vs a self-administered kick in the butt.
1. When you pick up your work-in-progress, you…
A: get right to work! You have so many great ideas, it’s hard for your fingers to keep up with your brain.
B: remember that you meant to post those pictures on Facebook. You take care of that, answer a few emails, check Twitter, grab a snack, and…wow, is it lunch time already?
C: have to check the clock because you can’t remember if you’re starting or ending a work session.
2. A friend invites you out for coffee, so you…
A: check your word count and schedule to see if you have time to indulge.
B: grab your keys and ask where she want to meet.
C: let her call go to voicemail again. You’ll call her back when you’ve met your deadline.
3. The last time you read a book…
A: you took notes on plot structure and character arcs. Oh, and the author did a great job with world-building!
B: you stayed up all night to read the next two in the series as well. You love finding a new author!
C: read a book? You can’t remember. You love to read, but the past few weeks are a blur of writing and…well, writing.
4. When your kids ask what’s for dinner, you…
A: tell them dinner is in the crock pot and will be ready at 6:30, just like it always is.
B: shut your laptop and suggest you go out for ice cream.
C: ask what they’re doing home from school already. It can’t really be dinner time already, can it? Maybe you can scrounge up a frozen pizza.
5. When it comes to exercise, you…
A: are up and moving early each morning. It helps you feel energized and more productive.
B: can usually find something better to do.
C: know it’s important, but you’ve been too exhausted lately to do anything but fall into bed at the end of the day. Besides, your back hurts, probably from those long hours in front of the compute screen.
How did you do?
Mostly A’s: You’re a hard worker with admirable focus on your writing—but you need to be careful that writing doesn’t edge out fun, family, and friends in your life. Use your planning skills to fit some downtime into your schedule.
Mostly B’s: You’re a spontaneous and fun-loving writer who knows how to spend time on the important things—but make sure that your writing doesn’t always come last on your to-do list. You may need to eliminate distractions in order to get any writing done.
Mostly C’s: You’re a writer working toward a goal with single-minded focus—which may make you super-productive in the short term, but eventually leads to burnout. And you’re definitely showing the signs! Find ways to cut back on your workload so you can get some much-needed rest and restoration.
What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to productivity? Do you tend to work too hard or too little—or have you found a happy medium?
*Okay, I confess I took a *few* notes. I do write about oceans and wildlife, and I *was* surrounded by both.
**Note: this quiz is extremely scientific and accurate, based on a sample size of…one. No, two. Two extremely excellent and relevant samples :).