15 Minutes of Reclaim

Hello Everybody. Welcome to my 15 minutes of writing allotment for today. Let me explain…

I’m still recovering from Dragon*Con (more about that experience coming soon) and struggling to recuperate from a brief vacation on Edisto Island, SC…which shall heretofore be known as the Vacation From Hell (or VFH).

Beach Freak OutWhy was it the vacation from hell? you may ask. Well, honestly, it wasn’t that bad. It was my mood and my attitude that magnified every minor issue into a calamity of unbearable proportions. Have you ever noticed how the worse it gets, the worse it gets? Yes, well, I have some strong beliefs about that. Beliefs that most people would consider weird, kooky woo woo stuff. But seriously, this vacation was like a case study on the power of negative thinking. A few highlights:

  • A television that turned itself on and off randomly
  • Lights that flickered on and off every 3-5 minutes
  • Eternally running toilets
  • “Clean” utensils/dishes in the drawers/cabinets crusted with old cheese
  • Swarms of insects
  • Suspected food poisoning (for Mike)
  • Sore throat/cold (for me)
  • My first jellyfish sting (down the back of my right calf)

So…at a relatively calm, peaceful, pleasant break in the bad stuff, Mike and I sat together on the beach taking deep breaths and trying to dissect my current plethora of mental health issues. I tried to explain to him…well, everything. My escalating job pressures. My crazy, marathon schedule. My berserk stress levels. My writing goals. My marketing goals. My disappointments. My failures. My grief.

Mike listened thoughtfully, as he always listens, then confessed that he has been observing me over the past few months (Shall we say since May?) and he is worried. Either I’m going to explode into a thousand million pieces that no one will ever be able to put together again OR I am going to collapse into myself until I am the human equivalent of a sucking black hole.

As cautious as Pi approaching that man-eating tiger, Mike asked me to seriously consider a suggestion.

Stop. Just stop.

Stop doing everything extra outside my core job responsibilities and focus on my health – both mental & physical – for the next two months. Exclusively.

Wait! Stop everything?

Yes, everything. No writing. No blogging. No marketing. Just stop. Not forever. Just for two months. Channel all creativity and focus into health and well-being.

Whoa! This was a horrifying request/suggestion. Especially that part about not writing at all. What the WHAT?!?! That will make me even crazier. Unused creativity is NOT benign. It will eat me up inside! (Note: My sweetheart is not a fiction writer with that incurable need to create stories.) Still, I did promise to take a day or two to consider what he was suggesting.

The next morning, while catching up on my favorite author blogs, I saw this post from one of my favorite authors – Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s time for her 6th annual Write Fifteen Minutes A Day (WFMAD) Challenge.

My first reaction: Heh…how sad that some aspiring writers find it challenging to write for ONLY 15 minutes every day. I am so beyond that.

Second reaction: Wait! this could be the perfect compromise/test for Mike’s proposal. I will allow myself 15 minutes and ONLY 15 minutes to write each day. Blog posts, journal entries, new fiction. I can use my 15 minutes however I want, but I can only spend 15 minutes each day. For one month. Then I will re-evaluate.

I submitted my counter idea to Mike and he seemed quite pleased and proud of me. And now, we have an agreement.

So…you have just read my 15 minutes for today (Oops! 17 minutes. Don’t tell my honey.) Tomorrow will be my first day working on a first draft for only 15 minutes (gulp).

photo credit: Amy McTigue via photopin cc

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