Monday, March 17, 2014

What to do when you're stuck

Yesterday, I woke, had coffee, watched some of the news...I can't function if I see too much bad news, so I monitor my daily intake. If I could do this with food, I'd be skinny.

Anyway, it was a normal day. I read through the first 2 chapters of a new proposal and loved them...just could have squeezed and hugged them, but when I read chapter three it fell flat. It shouldn't have. Everything was there. But it didn't read right. And suddenly I realized it wasn't the book...that chapter. It was me. My brain was so tired from everything I had done for PR for HER SUMMER WITH THE MARINE, that I could skim the first 2 chapters of my new project and pronounce them good (because I'd been over them 8,000 times) but the chapter I'd just drafted was mush because my brain was mush.

I immediately stepped away from the computer. Why? I didn't want to make things worse. I've been through this before and I know sometimes the worst thing to do is to push through when you don't have anything to give your story.

So what did I do...and why did I wake up feeling like writing today?

First, I considered my options. Work had caused the deadness of even if I worked on blogs or workshops rather than my book, it wouldn't heal my tired brain.

Then I considered housework. Menial tasks always revive my brain, but yesterday scrubbing the sink just wasn't doing it for me.

Then I realized I needed to do something for me. Something different. Something fun. So we rented CATCHING FIRE, bought popcorn and lazed around in our pj's all day, while eating popcorn.

But at the end of the day I also remembered something my trainer always tells me. Sometimes when you're emotionally or mentally exhausted you need to move. So I put on my new blueberry tennis shoes and went off to zumba class.

What are the takeaways?

When you are too tired to think, you can do your manuscript a great disservice. So ...

1. Step away. Get so far away from the computer that you can't even see it!
2. Give yourself options. Normally housekeeping is my go-to mundane activity to heal my brain. Yesterday, it wasn't cutting it. Why? I think because it was still part of a routine. And my brain wanted something different. My something different and your something different could be two totally different things. Some people like bubble baths. Some people shop. Some people eat out. There are lots of things you can do to rest your brain. Write a list of 20, give yourself choices so you really will rest your brain.
3. Once you've decided what you're going to do...throw yourself into it. Forget your book. (Buy the popcorn!)
4. Remember to move. My trainer is a very smart woman. She can take one look at me and know when I need to push physically to help myself mentally. If you don't belong to a gym and/or don't have lots of workout tapes, ride your bike, take a walk, run up and down your stairs! LOL Do something to get the blood flowing.

And most of all #5...don't be mad at yourself for needing a day off. I usually work six days a week. Lately, I've been working seven. How fair is that to my poor brain?

Taking a day off rather than pushing can usually reap the reward of a fully cooperative brain the next morning. It worked for me. :) Don't push yourself so much that you hit that wall that totally stops you...maybe for a long time.

Happy reading...

Oh, and don't forget HER SUMMER WITH THE MARINE will only be $.99 for one more week. Then it's up to full price. So get it while it's hot! LOL

susan meier

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