The Importance of Rest

I’m on Day 20 of NaNoWriMo and I’m not going to lie.  I’m getting tired.

Not that I don’t enjoy working a full time job, prepping for a craft show, and coming home every day to write for 3-4 hours before going to bed.  Writing is fun, exercises my creativity, and gives me something to look forward to after my 8-5 schedule.

But yesterday I was tired.  So tired my eyes felt like they were going to fall out of my head- and a migraine was coming on.  And if you’ve ever had a migraine before, you know that’s no fun.

So after I came home from work my mom gave me a piece of advice: don’t write tonight.  Rest your eyes.  Take a break.

It was like she was asking me to give up my first born.

Not write?  No!  Never!  Especially not during NaNoWriMo.  50,000 words isn’t exactly a cake walk when you’re trying to fit life in, so writing comes first, right?

I decided I wasn’t going to listen and was going to force myself to write even though I was tired, drained, and about to fall flat on my face.

I went to the computer, turned it on, and pulled up my story.  I was going to at least get in 1,500 words in.

Five words later, though, I stopped.  My eyes were hurting worse.  I was so, so tired.  Whatever creativity I had was gone and didn’t want to come out.  It was like my body was saying, “Don’t want to listen?  Fine.  I’ll make you listen by falling asleep on the keyboard if I have to!”

So I made a decision.  I saved my five words, closed out the story, and turned the computer off.

After about an hour of relaxing and watching a little bit of Burn Notice, I was starting to feel better.  I even got in bed on time for once.

And now, after getting that rest, I feel like I can write again.

Sometimes as writers we think we have to push it to the limit, especially when there’s a deadline.  We write and write and write until we just can’t write anymore.  And though writing is fun and a great way to share our inner creativity, writing (along with any type of art) can be exhausting, especially when done for long periods of time or after a long day.  For many of us, too much of a good thing can turn bad if we’re not careful.  And in my case, writing for hours after work every day was starting to take its toll.  I got tired, my mind was exhausted, and instead of my creativity growing, it started to diminish because I was too tired to even think.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard and wanting to do a good job, but I learned I shouldn’t sacrifice my health for the sake of success.