Sometimes, the best thing you can do is shut your brain completely down, especially after spending almost every waking hour working (well, okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but it’s felt like every waking hour). Your brain is just an organic computer system, after all, and after running it non-stop for days on high-speed, constantly using all of its available RAM, it’s bound to eventually crash or completely burn out; or in the least slow down to a laboring crawl. By stepping away and allowing the system to cool down and essentially reboot, things become a little more clear and manageable… and in some cases, less stressful. Which is always a good thing.
Earlier this week, I found myself in that place, burning my brain to its limit researching and fixing (and tweaking, and fixing) the website for my client, getting it to work the way I wanted and testing different elements so that I could send it to them with pride and confidence that I did my absolute best. Add to that my push to finish up some paperwork I’m going to need for the Wedding Expo I’ll be attending as an exhibitor a week from Sunday, getting all of the necessary artwork to the printers, and ticking off my checklist of things to do, and you could probably imagine the amount of smoke that was billowing from my ears.
And that’s only what I could see; there’s still one thing missing, hiding in the shadows of all of this hard work — my new novel. Somehow, and for no other reason than because it has less of a priority at the moment, working on my new book has all but been shelved, placed on the back burner to simmer until I can finish the main course. And it’s frustrating because last year, when I republished the first book in the series, I essentially made a promise that the new chapter would be out this summer. But the way it’s going, that promise is one that will have to be broken, unless I can start working on it soon and pretty much non-stop until August.
Which really sucks because I absolutely hate (let me reiterate — HATE) breaking promises. It’s the reason why I never make promises in the first place. One of my personal mottos (or rules, as it were) is to never make a promise that I’m not one hundred percent sure I can keep. Now back when I made that particular promise, attempting to start my own business wasn’t even a glimmer of a thought in my head, as I was still working at my old job, so at the time, I was one hundred percent certain it would happen. It’s reason enough to forgive myself for this one broken promise (if summer does come and I still have no book, that is). I mean, I’m not going to rush the final product just to keep it; that would be bad for everybody. Besides, I still plan on releasing the book this year (cross my fingers), and with the amount of sales on the first book, I’m not sure many will notice… or care, so long as it does come out eventually and as fast as possible. But it still pains me to have to break it in the first place.
What I found over the last couple of weeks, as I continued to think about heading back into that world, is that it wasn’t because I was too busy with other things, it was because my energy for writing it had been saturated by my focus on these other tasks. I’ve been pouring all of my creativity into building my business that I haven’t been able to transfer any of that into my writing (except for the occasional blog post and review), which then makes it even harder to concentrate because I’m worried and irritated that I won’t ever get a chance to get back to it. Some of it is time management, some of it is priority; nevertheless, it’s been getting to me, and causing me to stress out more than I should.
Which is why I’m at that point of letting it all go and giving myself time away from it all. Whether it’s for an hour of useless internet surfing or a day of mind-numbing focus on a video game, letting go of everything to let your mind relax is a very important thing to do when everything begins to feel a bit too overwhelming.
I know that next week I will be putting the finishing touches on, and finalizing, the website, and I will have everything I need ready to go for the expo (the brochures, banner and coupons I made up should arrive early next week; so excited to see how they turned out), so tomorrow will be a good time to veg. Both of my aunt’s will be dropping by, along with my little niece, and I plan to hang out with them all day, essentially allowing all of my worries, my need to get things finished and my desire to get going on the next thing to drift away for some much-needed relaxation.
If my calculations are correct, that one day will be enough to reinvigorate my creative juices so that I can also once again begin work on my new book, as I will be able to focus on it more now that my other big jobs are coming to a close. I know it’ll feel good to get back into it too, even if I find I won’t be able to make my self-imposed deadline. That kind of thing happens, and will always happen, no matter how much I fight it. Priorities are always in flux, and you can never rely on creativity to be there when you absolutely need it. So, if and when it happens again (which I hope to be soon, as I need work to sustain my business), and I find myself with a new set of priorities, worries and issues that put a halt to keeping my promise, all I really have to do is take a step back, come up with a system to better manage my time…