Exhaustion and Writing

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As I sat here falling asleep while writing I pondered what I should blog about today and it struck me that exhaustion was an appropriate topic.

I am a type A personality. Always have been, probably always will be. I used to have a sign over my drafting table in architecture school that said “You can sleep when you die.” And I believed it. I lived on 4 hours sleep, if that much, throughout college and beyond. I guess I should really know better by now … but tell that to my brain.

Anyway, I hate to admit when I’m wrong, as I think most of us do. Being wrong just sucks. So my realization this morning that I was plain old exhausted and needed to just quit half the things in my life I was trying to accomplish, hit me like a rake handle in the chicken yard at three in the morning (I have experience … yes, you can knock yourself unconscious … ).

Some things I can’t quit. I’m committed. I have obligations, deadlines, real life stuff to do. But other things I can. Twitter, Facebook, extra writing bits and bobbles, and the stress they create are all expendable. I lived 44 years without Facebook and 48 years without Twitter so what’s a month or so matter in the scheme of things?

In a way the point was made last night when I was lamenting the fact that no one was “liking” my stuff online and my phone buzzed with a text from someone I actually know in real life. We exchanged a line or two, made a joke, laughed, said what we needed to say … and yet there I was worried about what someone I’d never even spoken to beyond a mere tweet was thinking. It was ridiculous. I was stressed out by a non-existent event instead of being calmed by a real life exchange with a friend.

I laughed at myself and decided that was it. I was too tired, too exhausted, too anxious ridden, too wiped-out to keep going. That thought that harbors in the back of my mind tried to creep out … “Just give up. You’ll never make it as a writer anyway. Why even try?”

I had to step on it hard. Shove it back to whence it came from. Bury it.

But it came back this morning. And that’s when it hit me, I am simply exhausted. I need to refresh, recharge, sleep for hours on end uninterrupted and not worry about another living soul but myself. When was the last time I got to do that?

The last time I tried to do that was in a hot tub last month after an exhausting weekend saying goodbye to someone who was dying … but even that was interrupted.

Writing is such a solitary activity and to do it well, the writer needs to take time to take care of themselves. Go for a walk, take a hike, put in headphones and escape to another world … sit and do absolutely nothing.

The misunderstandings over the past month have beaten me. The loss of friendship, the callousness of the world, the back biting, the ignoring, the lack of compassion have all taken their toll and I can’t keep going and caring and doing and sharing. It’s all been too much.

So, I’m off. Off Twitter, off facebook, off-line for the next few days or weeks. I need time to rest and recharge and remember why I’m doing this. If you need me, I’ll be in that photo at the top of the page.

 

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One thought on “Exhaustion and Writing

  1. Erin, this is wonderful. I don’t mean because you’re exhausted, grieving, or overwhelmed. I mean because it’s honest. You’re honest with the world, but most importantly, you’ve been honest with yourself on what you need and you’re not afraid to take it. For that I commend you. Take that break! Enjoy it! I hope that it’s exactly what you need. Everyone deserves a chance to step back and recharge, especially in a place as gorgeous as the picture above, and from what I’ve seen lately, you deserve this most of all. My best wishes to you and I look forward to seeing you when you return, recharged and revitalized. Most importantly: stronger. ^.^

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