IWSG: Taking the unenforced day off

Come and join the club!
Come and join the club!

Every month I post on the first Wednesday as a member of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. The group was set up by Alex J. Cavanaugh to bring together writers to offer each other support. Pop along to the website to find out more.

For me, taking a day off is difficult; taking an unenforced day off – when I don’t really need time off – is probably the hardest thing I ever have to do. But sometimes it really is the best thing to do.

Recently I was laid low by a mystery illness that left me feeling dizzy, faint and completely exhausted. I’m still not entirely sure what it is – whether it’s related to an existing condition or whether it’s something completely new – and quite frankly I’m fed up of it. Everyone keeps telling me to rest and take it easy, two things I find almost impossible.

But this time, I’ve actually had to do that. I’ve had the best part of a month away from steady writing (well, editing) because I simply couldn’t sit at my desk to work, or bully my brain into concentrating. So, I gave myself a break. Yes, I felt guilty about ‘wasting’ all this time, but I’ve learned to deal with it because it’s not really been wasted.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading both fiction and non-fiction, which can never be a bad thing, and also had a chance to take stock. Writing is still very much a passion and life feels somehow wrong without it, but I have to take care of myself. I get very envious when I hear other people’s tales of the amount of writing they’re able to do on a regular basis, but I have to remind myself that their lives are very different to mine. It’s not an excuse, I do as much writing as I am able to do, I do my best and quite frankly that’s good enough for me.

So, if you need to take a day off once in a while – or even schedule in a regular day off – then do it. Your work won’t suffer, you’ll be able to pick up exactly where you left off and you’ll feel better for it. I’m going to be a lot tougher with myself in future. I’m going to make sure I pace myself much better and make sure that my batteries don’t ever get this flat again.

What do you do when you’re feeling off-colour? How do you cope when you have to let your writing slide a little, and how do you get back in the swing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

5 thoughts on “IWSG: Taking the unenforced day off

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  1. Oh dear, I do hope you’re feeling better soon. Being unable to write can be very frustrating, and you’re absolutely right – everyone’s lives are different. I find myself very jealous by writers who have loads of writing time, and so angry at the ones who say if you don’t write for four hours every day, you’re not a real writer, and the like. But the only person you’re competing against is yourself. And taking a break to let your creative juices refill is so important. Don’t give yourself a hard time for it, enjoy coming back refreshed.

  2. April was not a good health month. I hope you’re feeling better. Rest and taking it easy is good advice. It sounds like you were refilling your well by reading. Good idea.

    1. Hi Diane, I’m doing my best to rest up. It’s hard when you have a day of feeling a bit better, you think ‘oh great’ and then relapse the following day. Frustrating, but reading is healing my soul!

  3. I hope you feel better soon! I haven’t been so great lately either. I decided to take most of April off from most of my unnecessary obligations to destress.. Follow what you and your body feel needs to happen! You’ll be able to pick everything else back up when you’re feeling better, but health won’t wait.

    1. Hi Skye, sorry to hear you’re under the weather too. Maybe it’s that time of year. I agree that protecting your health is so important – you don’t realise how important until it’s affected. I’m working on getting back into writing now, and so far so good. Wish me luck!

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