And Now For Something Completely Different

The first week of April was very productive for Slay the Writer.  I’ve been busy writing, editing and submitting like a demon.  At the same time, I managed to complete two demanding projects for my “day job.”  Yay me.

However, in an annoying twist of irony, I find myself entirely devoid of inspiration for the blog.  Fact is, I feel like a seven-day-old birthday balloon drooping at the end of my party ribbons.  I’ve got nothing.

And so, in the time-honored tradition of uninspired creative types everywhere, I’m going to post pictures of cute baby animals:

There's something so irresistible about a man wearing a Primate Protection League t-shirt and holding a baby pygmy goat.

The foal is 1 week old and has no idea she's supposed to look up and pose for cute pictures. The human is approximately 2172 weeks old and does no better at posing for pictures.

The baby animals appear courtesy of Milky Way Farms near Dahlonega, GA.  (I am still trying to figure out some way to convince my landlord that an African pygmy goat would be an environmentally friendly way to keep my lawn trimmed).

Actually, I lied.  I’m not just posting cute animal pictures because I have nothing to say.  I want to mention the art of NOT writing.

Writing, especially fiction writing, is an insidious passion.  It can consume all of your free time.  Even when you’re not writing, you’re thinking about it.  It’s a mostly gentle form of madness, but it’s still madness.  Anyone infected with the writing bug has to be a little bit crazy.  (Some writers are absolutely frightening, but that’s a different topic for another day.)  The point is, I aim to be functional and just slightly eccentric.  Which means I need to practice the art of not writing gracefully.

A few years ago, I was asked the question, What do you do when you’re not at work or writing novels?  

My answer (When I’m not writing I’m planning to write, thinking about writing or talking about what I’ll write as soon as I stop examining my own naval lint.) was meant to be funny.  But it was just a little too true and a little too close to the bone. 

In my experience, too much writing and not enough guilt-free playing will lead to a crash.  A writing crash is not pretty sight.  It involves a lot of creative avoidance of writing followed by deeply debilitating guilt over the precious writing time that’s been wasted.  Some might call this phenomenon Writer’s Block, but I don’t believe in that nonsense.  It’s a crash.  And like any crash, it can usually be avoided.

Short, planned periods of guilt-free, play balanced with a regular writing regimen is my best defense.

So….this past weekend was a planned vacation from writing.  I gave myself permission, no, more like strict instructions, to take a two-day break from productive writing.  I went to see a play, watched a fabulous documentary, started reading Jennifer Donnelly’s new novel, went to a Star-BQ (where amateur astronomers cook out, set up telescopes and show non-astronomers like me how to find Saturn’s moons) and played with cute baby animals.  All of this was enjoyed with absolutely 0% guilt….or as close to 0% as I can manage.

Tonight it’s back to production….if I can pry myself away from that amazing Jennifer Donnelly novel.  (Darn her!)


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