Heads up: This week’s Wordy Wednesday is supposed to be a short story, but this topic is a little more relevant right now. Sorry! I’ll put the short story up next week.
Two days until I get to go home!
I’ve honestly been really enjoying the finals period this year, which sounds weird I’m sure, but I’m currently in the middle of a week-long break between my last two finals and I’ve been spending it relaxing. I started out with these grand plans of finishing my NaNoWriMo novel or the other writing project I’m working on, but I tried that and I can’t. I’m too burned out.
The whole Burned Out thing is something I’ve been suspecting but ignoring all semester. While I’ve been able to do the work for my creative writing class, and won NaNoWriMo, and have been doing a little writing on the side here and there, I’ve gotten to the point where I just can’t get anything to work quite right; I have ideas, but I can’t get them to come out properly on the page. All the pieces are there, but I can’t figure out the puzzle.
And I was really mad at myself all semester over this, because I took winter semester of this past year off from my creative writing class because I was feeling burned out then, so that should have helped me recharge. And I spend two months in freaking EUROPE over the summer, so THAT should have helped me recharge.
I’ve had so many adventures this year and I’m so happy with life right now.
And towards the beginning of this break between finals, as I was struggling to just make writing work already, I thought maybe it couldn’t because I was too happy. Like, too many things have been going right for me, you know? But then, also, I’ve been making myself miserable by stressing out over all this.
So, I gave up and decided to take this week off.
I’ve done a little writing here and there, and I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, but it’s nothing major. Mostly what I’ve been doing is sitting around and watching Netflix. I’ve been hanging out with friends and going out to eat. I’ve gotten back into the routine of working out every day and eating maybe a little better (but also letting myself eat junk food without feeling TOO guilty) and yesterday I spent a couple hours hiking in the Arb in the misty rain. Today I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to go see The Theory of Everything ten minutes before the movie started.
My brother stayed over last night after we went to an advance screening of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and he parked on the street, so I had to get up to put money in the meeter at five AM, and it was absolutely lovely to walk around Ann Arbor when it was dark and cold and not a single other person was awake.
And I’m realizing that I’m not burned out on writing because I’m too happy. (Which is a very obvious conclusion to reach, but I’m a sleep-deprived junior, so bear with me.) I’m burned out because even when I haven’t been writing all this time I was supposed to be recharging, I’ve been doing stuff.
When I took that semester off from creative writing class, I replaced it with a remote internship with a literary agent.
The month I had off between winter semester and leaving for Europe and study abroad at Oxford, I spent working a thousand hours a day planning and running Ch1Con 2014. (Like even while I was hopped up on Vicodin after getting my impacted wisdom teeth out. I slept off the rest of the day of the surgery, then the next morning I had to get back to work.)
Actually being in Europe, every day we were off on a new adventure.
I was exhausted when I got back to the States, but the very next day I was in the midst of moving into my apartment and fall classes began less than a week later. And this semester has been crazy.
I’ve had no rest in all of this. I keep getting sick, no matter how well I try to take care of myself, and I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and more than anything: I haven’t been able to write. Not like I should be able to.
In finally taking this week off to relax, I’ve realized how exhausted I truly am. I haven’t had a chance to just sit around and do nothing and not feel guilty about it in over a year.
And the dumb thing is that I’m scared. I’m scared that letting my momentum slow for a week will mean it’ll be harder to get started again than to keep going would have been if I’d never stopped, and that taking a week off that I could have spent finishing a project means that I’m falling behind and not good enough, and that people will look down on me for this decision.
I stood in a bookstore today, looking at the travel section, when a song came on in which, not kidding, the chorus basically just repeated, “Where are you going?” a thousand times. And at first I was sad, because I want to be going somewhere. I want to go to Australia and South Africa and Germany and everywhere else in the world. I want to experience absolutely everything. I want to do absolutely everything.
But it’s okay to be tired. It’s okay to take a break.
If I want to be able to keep having and appreciating adventures, I need to recharge.
Wherever I’m going, I’ll find out later. Right now I’m drinking vanilla chai, curled up in my desk chair, and I’m about to start the next episode of Gilmore Girls. I can still taste butter on my lips from the movie theatre popcorn and my plans for tomorrow involve a little studying and packing but mostly doing Whatever I Freaking Feel Like.
This week, I am going absolutely nowhere. And I’m realizing: it’s okay.
The stories will wait.
PS. GUESS WHAT TOMORROW IS. That’s right. My third blogiversary. (You totally guessed that, I know.) Be on the look out for a post!