This past weekend we went to Red River Gorge, KY for rock climbing, camping, and good times. It was an all-around awesome experience. Although, had I known we’d wake up on Saturday morning with ice covering our tent and my hubby disdainfully peering at me through his sleeping bag like this–
–I might’ve suggested a hotel instead of camping.
But that’s not the point of this post. And yes, we’re still defrosting.
On Thursday before we left, I considered staying home and working on my writing. You know, get my homework done like a good kid. But I thought about how much fun I would surely have (because who doesn’t have fun playing in the woods with their friends?).
It occurred to me that I love writing so much, I oftentimes neglect everything else I love to do it. Despite what Calvin Klein says, obsession, even if it smells like bottled sex, is not always a good thing. Captain Ahab’s obsession lead to his demise. He had to have the last word with Moby Dick. Ahab’s is a cautionary tale of “Don’t let obsession become your God.”
As a writer, I obsess over perfection. And it’s annoying. Because let’s face it–nothing is ever perfect. NOTHING. I may slave over a chapter for weeks, but no matter how hard I may work on it, I will never make the words perfect. Nevertheless, I try. We writers spend so much time agonizing over our words that we sometimes lose sight of what’s beyond the computer screen.
I know I do. So I do things like this:
And then I eat this without guilt:
Rock climbing is my escape from writing. It’s all physical. When I climb, I think about nothing else but getting my ass up the wall without getting hurt. There’s a surge of adrenalin that keeps my instincts heightened. As I go higher and higher, I’m reminded that I’m just a big bag of meat scaling razor-sharp rock. I’m mortal and can’t control the world around me like I can when I write.
Do you know how scary that is?
As terrifying as I find getting to the crux of a route, feeling my heartbeat pound in my sweating fingertips, fearing that I’ll pop off and take huge whipper into razor-sharp rock, I love that climbing rips me out of my safe “writing” zone.
So, as I ponder my weekend in Kentucky, something very important sticks with me: writers need to have non-writing activities. And I don’t just mean walking away from the computer and staring at a television or driving the kids to hockey practice. We need hobbies. If that means going for roller derby lessons or a mountain climb or yoga or just watching people in a park, give your brain a rest. Let your body do the work for once. Let is flourish too. You may discover that a vacation from writing will refresh your creativity and help you get a little closer to perfecting that frustrating chapter. Or, it may open up new doors to new book ideas. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, eh?