Writer Rant: It’s One of “Those” Days: Knowing When to Take a Break
Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
My bad day started with the coffeepot. It seems to me that the success of professional writers is largely dependent on caffeine. There are few horrors worse than prepping the coffee, pushing the button and watching as nothing happens. No happy little beeps to say everything is right in the world. No hot, soothingly bitter liquid to lift the fog from your brain. It’s not a promising way to start the day.
Gloomy, I went my office and started checking email. That’s when I saw the revision requests. If you are like me, you don’t allow your work to venture forth into the world until you are certain that it is the best you can do. Even the most well-meaning revision requests sting. I fixed the issues, submitted the text with an apologetic note, dusted off my ego, and started planning the rest of my day.
Minutes later, my laptop froze. No amount of pressing various keys elicited even the slightest reaction. In a fit of rage, I lashed out at the reset button and leaned back in my chair.
My tech guru husband was at work, so I sent him a string of pleading texts. He finally responded, telling me he was busy. Couldn’t I just use his laptop until he got home? Laptops are personal items. Mine is set up just how I like it. Using my husband’s laptop is like being dumped in a foreign country.
Nevertheless, I grabbed his laptop and got back to work. Winds started howling outside, but I ignored them – until the internet died. I looked at the network icon and saw the dreaded red “X.” My eyes shifted to the router. Normally, the sparkly green lights flash away in a friendly manner, but not today.
I started unplugging things and plugging them back in. When that didn’t work, I called tech support. They told me to start unplugging things and plug them back in. My desk was a mess of cords, and still no Google. The tech support people decided that the storm caused the outage, and it would likely be fixed in a few hours.
An hour later, the internet came back as mysteriously as it had left. I resumed my work, desperately trying to make up for lost time. I had forgotten all about the stormy weather, but nature decided to remind me that bad things were still happening outside. My desk light went out, and the pretty router lights went dark. The faint glow of the laptop screen, a glimmer of wan light through the drawn curtains, and the shrieking winds were all that remained.
It never occurred to me that I should probably just go back to bed. I decided to get in the car and head for the nearest coffee shop with power and a hot-spot. The thought of coffee with an extra serving of calories and a suitably sinful dessert fueled my motivation. I packed up the laptop and went in search of the car keys.
Of course, the keys were nowhere to be found. After searching the kitchen table, the couch cushions, and thoroughly wrecking the house, I remembered that my husband had taken the car to work the other day. The keys were in his jacket pocket, hanging in his office. I briefly considered the logistics of tapping out content on a tiny iPhone screen. That’s when the moment of clarity came.
What was I doing? Why didn’t I just stop? Obstacle after obstacle, and I didn’t learn a darn thing from any of them. Even had I been able to write something, the rage, panic and lack of caffeine would have caused my work to suffer. Sure, I need money. I crave high ratings and recognition. I want more exposure. Most professional writers work hard to achieve these things. But some days, it’s just not going to happen. I’d have been better off to snuggle up under a blanket and read by candlelight. Instead, I spent the day uselessly shaking my fist at the sky.
The next time you have a day like this, take a page from my book. If your day is going to pieces, it might be more productive to take time off. Recharge your batteries, relax and do something that will help your creative mind flourish. Put the stress and frustration behind you because tomorrow is a new beginning.
Amber K is passionate about freelance writing. When she’s not looking for creative ways to keep her cat off the keyboard, she can usually be found writing blog posts, web copy and more!