Weather here has swung from the high 60s to the low 20s and back again over the past two weeks, depending on what day it is and the moods of the mountain gods. My productivity and state of mind have been much like the weather, fluctuating wildly. Euphoric over good news I received on Thursday, unhappy over the turn my novel was taking on Friday. Moving from an all consuming six hour writing session on Tuesday to complete paralysis on Wednesday, when I couldn’t seem to stomach the novel and so forced myself to edit, just to keep in it.
The first time this happened to me, last year at VCCA, I panicked, experiencing a mind-numbing crisis of faith. Now I know that it’s part of my rhythm, and I try to accept it. There will be crazy productive times when I work until I run the well dry, and afterwards, I’ll have to step back and take a break.
Today, to clear my head and refuel, I got out and hiked a bit. Nothing difficult, just a nice walk through the woods. There are many more challenging trails than the one I took, but I’m only interested in the fresh air and a change of scenery, so I didn’t go far. I didn’t need to. Just that short walk helped shake loose my thoughts.
I’ve learned that I’m much more productive when I don’t put too much pressure on myself, when I get out and take in the scenery sometimes. That’s what’s so great about writing – I can give myself permission to wander through the woods, because it’s part of the creative process. Wouldn’t it be nice if all jobs allowed us to take mental health breaks and disappear into nature from time to time?