On the Importance of a Break

To start, this small hiatus was necessary. Let me first explain why.

After I committed a major no-no while writing, I realized that I effectively stopped paying attention to what I’m writing. Losing focus, especially if I’m writing about music or if I’m working on a complex storyline, is not good and inevitably results in something going awryConsidering that my readers are important to me, and many of them are close friends, the last thing I want is to screw up because of the simple fact that I lost focus on the quality of my writing. My friends hold my feet to fire when I need it, and I’m glad that they do – on account that it keeps me focused – but at the end of the day, the responsibility to produce good writing for you guys is mine and mine alone, and I set a certain standard for myself that I want to keep meeting for my readers’ sake.

So I forced myself to take a week-long break and actually regain some focus. And it was well worth it!

I will say it: it’s damned difficult for someone like me to take a break from, well, anything. It invariably leads me to being stretched too thin, and I lose more than a fair share of sleep as a result. Which, in turn, leaves me wrecked for the long-term. As it is, forcing myself to not write anything for a week aside from the occasional status update or tweet was damned difficult. I would go through the day, think, contemplate, and invariably say to myself, “And this is how it would be written…” only to press pause on that. Frustrating, yes.

The effects of my break were fantastic. I have:

Regained sleep. And I don’t need to tell you the miracles that this does for your overall well-being and focus. The past week at work has been honestly the least frustrating yet, and you guys know how stressed I get on the day job.

Finished other, non-writing projects. That knitting I had laying around with maybe two inches left to finish up? Done. Progress on sending out the books I own to their new homes? Definitely. Fixing up my floors, getting a new bed frame together? Done. And none of that would’ve happened without focus; most days when I get home, I cannot focus on these things long enough to finish them. The home improvement isn’t complete, but it’s definitely coming along.

Thought about the future. This may be an odd time to announce it, considering that it’ll take place pretty far into the future but…I’m setting out get another Bachelor’s Degree, this time in marketing, and may minor in photography if the school I’m considering. If not, I’ll definitely take some photo classes if I’m able. It’s good for my business, for one, and for two, a Summer/Fall school year (if the school I’m looking at will let me do that) will enable me to 1. keep my job and thus, some modicum of income and 2. get away with not paying student loans for a couple of years, which will do wonders for my finances. Seeing as I am related to someone who works in the City of NY college system, my tuition will not be a concern. I may end up with online classes for the most part, because I am still a perennial multitasker.

Thought over the storyline for my books. The Index is something that I will be working on for another decade, at the least, and it’s my baby in many ways. This break allowed me to actually put some thought into where I want this series to head, and while I always wanted to write the Origins arc, I hadn’t yet figured out where the rest of this arc will go. Until lately. I got some direction for it, and will be taking it when I resume working on it. That I’ll wait a bit longer on.

I can’t even tell you how necessary this break turned out be. Sometimes, it takes a nice, hard jolt to realize that you’ve stretched yourself way too thin, and what you are doing can be either done better, or needs to be reassessed.

If anything, it’s a mind-clearing experience.

To slightly better news now – next up on my Musical Menu is the Long Beach Jazz Fest over in Long Island, Daniel Street, and after that…a slow slide to the CapJazz cruise. :) I’m not yet sure if I’ll be writing up the events at CapJazz; I probably will do a summary recap like I did with Berks and just enjoy the fact that I’ll be in the Caribbean again.

In Home Improvement, the floors look amazing, the new storage bed is assembled, the new mattress makes me want to send Serta a nice gift basket, and the baseboard is in progress. Need to get a couple more strips to properly lay it all over the perimeter. A lot of things will be donated. The wardrobe can wait, and I do need to recover from this weekend… it’s been a while since I’ve done a major, major assembly job.

All is well, and I need to do the whole “take a hiatus from writing and focus” thing more often. :)

Love you all.