Monday, February 20, 2012

A weekend off is not so restful

So, I thought it would be nice to leave the laptop at home while I was camping. I knew I'd have a power source to charge the battery at our camp site, but I thought I'd just be too busy to write. I swore after I went to Florida last December I would never travel without the computer again, but apparently I forgot that lesson in two months' time. Now I think it's completely ingrained in my brain: Not writing for me is the equivalent of watching a horror movie marathon and then walking around in a dark forest without a flashlight. SCARY!!!

My imagination needs an outlet. For years, that outlet had been reading. Reading had been what kept me stable and sane. Ever since I started writing seriously (you know, producing novel-length works rather than writing down random thoughts in a blog or journal), reading does not work as my therapy anymore. In fact, I think it makes my imagination even more active now.

Writing this blog is helpful to me in organizing my thoughts, but it doesn't really let my creative mind work very hard, and it certainly isn't enough to keep me from losing it mentally, as I learned last night. I didn't really sleep well at camp. I never do. It's not in the contract. I am not there for myself, but as a chaperone for all the kids in our troop. When a girl gets up in the middle of the night with an issue, the grown-ups have to get up and help her deal with it. Not to mention the fact that we grown-ups tend to sit up late into the night chatting and preparing the activities for the following day, and then get up at dawn before the girls do to clear away our gear, shower, dress, and get ready for the day. I probably sleep in two hour increments, for a total of four hours a night, at camp. I figured I would be so exhausted last night I would sleep like a log, regardless of having tired out my imagination by writing or not. I was physically worn out, but mentally, my brain would not shut up.

Thank the heavens above my husband works nights, and is used to being up most of the night. We went to bed at a reasonable time, watched a few tv shows we'd recorded, and then turned out the lights before 2 am. And then I tossed and turned for twenty minutes before I was completely frustrated and stormed out of the room. I'd worked myself up into a fury, my brain running a mile a minute through all kinds of crap that writing would have soothed. My first instinct was to go up and sit down at the computer for a while, hack out a few pages, and then go back to bed for another try at sleep. And again, luckily for me, Tim's off work this week and was actually there to talk to. He'd followed me upstairs to see what the problem was. I ended up rehashing a ton of things that had been bothering me, realized just how lucky I am for so many reasons, and finally ran my brain dry around quarter to five.

Three hours of me basically ranting about everything under the sun, from the Kafkaesque dealings I've had with Bank of America in the last few months to frustrations about what we need to do to refinish and stain our deck (which is our big project for his week off work). I've basically come to the conclusion that writing is my Thorazine. If I don't write, I will need to be institutionalized. Without writing, I'm probably not fit for human company. When I say I'm writing the bad things out of my head, I really, truly mean it.

I still haven't done any work on the book, but I swore to myself I will write at least two hours today. I can't write all day like I'd like to, because there is the physical labor requirement of clearing off the deck in preparation to pressure wash it, but that won't take ALL day. Tomorrow we have to go buy the stain and the tools we'll need to apply it with, and then Wednesday we'll have to start staining, etc. It's going to be a physically busy week, but I have sworn to myself that I will NEVER slack off on the writing again, even if I end up only writing a few words. It's worth it to use up the extra brain steam to keep myself from boiling over again.

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