Wednesday, September 3, 2014

On Strike

A good friend and fellow author wrote about burnout. She had some excellent things to say. Check our her post HERE. Burnout is often brushed to the side or pooh-poohed by folks as unimportant or imaginary. Last year I confessed to another writer that I just wasn't interested in writing and he fired back a pithy suggestion to get with the program.

Well, that's not always possible. 

I would point out that writing--as any creative endeavor--is not something you just sit down and do like counting matchsticks or doing sit-ups. There's an element requiring thought and imagination. And sometimes, sadly, our imagination and thought processes go on strike. Unfortunately, those around us, our significant others, our peers, and our friends can't see the picket signs waving inside our brains. 

When we see striking workers on the street, we generally have an idea about what they want. Their demands are right there on the picket signs. More money. Shorter hours. Benefits.

But when a writer goes on strike, it's difficult to make out what the problem might be. I suspect for a lot of writers the number one demand is Feed Me. Not the junk food and coffee writers seem to inhale by the barrel as they write, but real food--a balanced diet-- and water. We can't write well on shoddy fuel.

Second on the list is probably Go Outside. Walk around. Take pictures. Talk to people other than your family. Observe the world around you. Writing is a solitary occupation. You can't do it without mental input. With the best of intentions you can't get that input by reading, watching television, or texting. It requires interaction with others.

Third would definitely be Exercise. Jogging is not required. Movement is. For the most part, writing, researching, planning are all sedentary. Our bodies are not designed to be sedentary. If there's a great issue our descendants will pay for, it's the sedentary life technology has fostered. Turn on the radio and dance. Sing while you vacuum. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Go swimming. There are real mental benefits in movement. Sitting leads to sluggishness. That's why we get so many good ideas in the shower.

Finally, the last demand might be Visit Your Doctor. As much as we want to deny it, we're aging every single day. And with aging (no matter what your current age is) things change. Particularly with the sedentary life, there are a zillion things that can happen. High blood pressure. Thyroid changes. Diabetes. High cholesterol. The first symptom of many of these conditions is...fuzzy thinking. That's the signal. Go. Talk to your doc about how you're really feeling. The truth. The WHOLE truth.

Pay attention to those strike pickets. Changes just might make them go away. And then we can all get back to what we love best. Writing.

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