There are times when every artist needs a break. That day came for me yesterday. It was a particularly rough day and I’d struggled repeatedly to find words for the empty pages in front of me. I was caught in a malaise that robbed me of energy and motivation. So I put away my writing, mourned the lack of discipline that would see me through to my daily writing goal, and ran guiltily into the fields of distraction and escape.
Thank goodness God is good and active to have led me into a conversation with a friend that led to the source of my troubles. I had forgotten why I was writing in the first place. It is an empty and difficult road that is filled with tasks but lacking purpose. I enjoy writing, but I am not the kind of writer who writes because I cannot do otherwise. I write because I believe there are messages that I am intended to communicate. I believe that I’ve been given stories that I’m supposed to share for the good of others and myself. I had come to a point where I looked at my writing as something to check off my list for the day.
What did I learn from this? I learned that I need to daily, and sometimes hourly, remind myself of why I do what I do lest I lose myself in a forest of activity without direction. This, however, was only the first lesson of the day. The why infused me with a small bit of energy and hope, but I still lacked the energy or desire to do anything about it. I found myself wanting to take a break. The kind of break I really couldn’t afford, but I no longer cared. I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. I wanted dessert and coffee. More than simply dessert and coffee, I wanted something the likes of cheesecake or tiramisu coupled with my favorite latte. It was a bit of decadence. It was a gift to myself that I couldn’t really justify. It was a gift that I’m glad I accepted.
That simple act of undeserved indulgence was the key to my restoration. It turns out that a brownie and a latte were just the medication my spirit needed. They encompassed a moment of rest to be enjoyed. A mere half hour, but it freed my mind, body and spirit from the malaise that had held me. It was a gracious gift. One that raised me up again. It reminded me that it’s alright, even necessary, to pamper myself now and again. My creative needs to be cared for in this way as well. I cannot only be a slave to purpose.
And just in case you’re wondering, my writing goal was met with great joy and a freshness of enthusiasm.