Well, I’m back from a lovely vacation and immersed in deadlines, contracts and school prep. That lovely vacation vibe is sliding away far too quickly, but this year, I’ve decided to do something about it. I’ve thought about the things I enjoy about vacations and how I can fit them into the days and weeks ahead to give myself a necessary break from the stresses that start September 1st and last for the rest of the semester. It’s not that I don’t like what I do, but I tend to charge at things head down without taking time to feed the other things that are important to me. My language becomes all about the “have-tos”, and this time, I’m determined that include in my life moments that recharge my batteries and my creativity.
This year has been incredibly productive with 11 new books published (more about that later), so I know that I can get a lot done when I have to. (There are those words again!) But I also took time this summer for other things, like watching part of an old movie in the middle of the day, or reading, or meeting friends for coffee, or sometimes, just having a nap. And the work got done. I’m learning to be more productive during ‘work time’ and learned that walking away from it all for a while is okay.
What changed was me deciding that I didn’t have to wait to take a break until I’d earned it. That meant that a break could only happen at the end of the day when everything was checked off the to-do list. That’s not when I needed the break, which was clear from the number of Facebook checks, games of solitaire I played, and cups of tea that I made—all of which were telling me to walk away from the screen for a decent period of time and regroup. If I walked away for an hour, that hour was probably less time away from the work than I spent frittering with other distractions. On the days that I took a real break, my productivity was better and my spirits were better, too.
So, that’s my lesson learned this year. I’ll keep you posted on my success in continuing this strategy through the next semester. What have you learned about staying energized while working? Do you take long breaks or a series of short ones? Do you give yourself rewards for your accomplishments? How do you fit in exercise? (That’s my next challenge!)
The two writing prompts journals that I mentioned in my last post are now available at Amazon, and will eventually be out and about at Barnes & Noble and Chapter/Indigo. Each journal contains the complete text of the book it was derived from plus over 100 lined pages so you can play with the writing prompts and suggestions in the books. The last book of my Better Business Communication series also saw the light of day last week, too. It’s available as an ebook only.
Now, to keep you writing for the next month, here are your writing prompts:
- Use one, some or all of the words in these groups to write a story or poem.
Sign, grey, fog, horizon, posts, sky
Clear, field, inside, tall, burn, patch
- Here are some opening lines to try.
- The swish of the wind turbine’s blades filled the night.
- A line of scraggy pines marked the path.
- I didn’t recognize the footsteps in the hall.
- If anyone needed a guardian angel right now, it was me.
- Henry threw the newspaper on the floor and reached for the phone.
- Henry swore this would be the last time.
- Helen was late again.
- Maybe one of these titles will inspire a story or poem:
The Mist, Dear Diary, A Light in the Window, The house on Planet X, Bad Blood, Captains Outrageous, Fire in the Heart, Death on Page One.
- What scenes can you imagine taking place before and during these lines of dialogue?
I told you I didn’t do it.
But can you prove it?
Look behind you.
Seriously? You expect me to fall for that old trick?
Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The wind is changing.
Yes. I can smell it now.
But I thought you left Henry in charge.
He thinks I did.
Something’s the matter.
How can you tell?