Hump-Day Help: Refill/Restore/Replenish

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Empty CupToday might come off as a bit of a rant, but that’s because I watch WAY too many artists deprive themselves of this and then their art comes to a halt. Plus it never hurts to get down and dirty and talk about something that you artists deal with…

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF

I know what you’re thinking…you think I’m talking about remembering to get your yearly physical exams, see the dentist regularly, not letting aches and pains just ride along, get some exercise (that doesn’t involve sitting in a chair and standing up from that chair), eat right, and so on and so forth. Which are all important things…and you should do that too…but that’s not the hump my helping post is for today.

Here’s the thing and I’m going to try and be brief (okay, brief for me) with this because you don’t need examples or whatnot…you need to be told…so listen (read) up and really let it sink in:

IT IS OKAY TO DO NOTHING FROM TIME TO TIME.

IT IS OKAY  TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO.

Stop berating yourself for the hour you spent on Facebook or the two hours you spent on a video game the other day or that cheesy movie you watched on the Hallmark Channel the other night. You do not need to be working every second of every day. If you do not find downtime to refill/restore/replenish your mind/body/soul…then you’ll have nothing to give to your art.

Let’s say that again…

IF YOU DO NOT FIND DOWNTIME TO REFILL/RESTORE/REPLENISH YOUR MIND/BODY/SOUL…

THEN YOU’LL HAVE NOTHING TO GIVE TO YOUR ART.

NOTE: IF you’re never getting to your art of choice because a video-game rules your life or you’re a couch potato, or you sit online and surf for six hours a day, THAT another story all together and I’m NOT talking about those folks today.

Tired vs. UninspiredI’m looking at the folks who stay late at work (or pick up a shift) to make their boss or co-worker happy (because they’re a pleaser and they want their boss/co-worker to like their work/effort/team spirit) instead of coming home on their one night off. I’m looking at the folks who decide to spend some time with friends or by themselves doing something that’s not their art (or their job) and feel guilty about it (either then or later). And I’m looking at the folks who live at their job (and that includes those who do their art for a living as well) and never ever take a minute for themselves.

YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.

Everyone comes after that. Even you mom’s who are sitting there going, “No, my kids come first,” need to remember two things. 1) If your artistic soul dies, who do you become and is that who you want your child to emulate? 2) Build spots into your day/week where you do come first. If that means you get a sitter or a driver or maybe you order food in…all so you can do something just for you, then so be it. Even if it’s a 30-minute bath with your favorite music and a glass of wine counts. It doesn’t have to be a 5-hour thing…it can be an hour of internet or 2 hours of TV on the DVR or a movie…or —insert name of thing you love to do here—.

This applies to stay at home moms, stay at home dads, those who have a day job, a night job, and two jobs. You cannot let your job own you, even if your job is your art. I mention this because often it’s the folks who do their art for a living who push themselves the hardest and take less time off (trust me, I’ve watched my mom run herself into the ground for years and when she takes time for her I rejoice). Working for oneself creates an underlying panic of having enough money to survive since you may have work right now, but after this is done, you could have a dry spell (lack of clients, etc.) and if that is too long, who pays the rent? This will cause the artist to feel SUPER guilty for doing the things I’ve been mentioning. However, the same thing applies to them.

So here’s the thing:

A) If the artist who does their art for a living OR the artist who works for “the man” doesn’t take time to recharge their battery, their art will suffer. 

B) If the artist who does not do their art for a living doesn’t give themselves time to do their art, they themselves will suffer.

You know all this, but I’m ranting about it here so it sinks in.

If it helps, plan it out. Actually put on your calendar, “Write from 8am to 11:30pm; Go get massage on Saturday from Noon-2pm (followed by Epsom Salt bath); Write from 4-7pm; Have a glass of wine and dinner with (significant other, cat, dog, self, etc.) at 8pm.”  OR if you have a day job, it might be, “Work from 8-5, run errands, eat dinner, write for two hours, watch an hour of TV, go to bed, read Facebook for an hour, sleep, and repeat.” These are is just two examples, swap that wine for whiskey for all I care, work-out vs. getting a massage, play a video game vs. watching TV for an hour…IT. DOESN’T. MATTER. Just be sure there IS downtime! By planning it out, maybe you’ll feel less like a “schmuck who is avoiding his/her work” and more like a well planned artist on an assigned break. 🙂

THE CHALLENGE

  1. Look at your world and if you are not finding time to write (or any other art), why is that? Are you getting in your own way? If so, how are you doing that? Notice when you do it and try to turn that around.
  2. How many hours are you putting in while workin’ for “the man”? Do you do O.T. too much to be impressive? If you died tomorrow, would that O.T. matter? See where you’re taking on more than you should, and say no once in awhile. They don’t own you (and yes, you can internally chant, “they don’t own me” as you go tell them no, you have my permission, just don’t say it aloud, or sing the song, ok? 🙂 ), so don’t let them try to.
  3. Are you doing something for yourself  that is NOT your art and NOT your job even if it’s mind-numbing (because that stuff is needed from time to time too)? Or hey, if your art is your job, are you pushing at it so hard that you don’t make time for anything else? If so, plan for a day and time to go do something for you. Go see a movie, get a massage, go spend a few bucks at your favorite smelly-stuff shop (Bath & Body Works is my fave), go on a date with your significant other, go for a walk in the park (alone or with a friend or dog…not the cat, they’re not as big of a fan as you think they’d be), or go sit by the water, or or or…you get the point.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. In order to create the amazing art inside of you and for it to pour forth onto the page (the canvas, the instrument, the dance floor, the stage, etc.) there has to be something to give. If you never take a moment to fill the well, your work will dry up, and you’ll die of dehydration (metaphorically speaking here, fyi).

So go forth, tell your boss you can’t stay late or pick up that shift even if the reason is, “I was looking forward to going home to snuggle with the dog and watch Agent Carter and Supergirl,” or whatever you like on TV and whomever you prefer to snuggle with (even if it’s a Pillow-Pet). They don’t need to know that. Tell them you have an appointment you can’t get out of and say you’re sorry (when you’re not really, but say it anyway). Guard those plans like you do an event you have to speak at. Why? Well, I hate to steal from a commercial, but I’m going to…

Because You Are Worth It

That’s it for me this time around…until next time, write hard, bathe in imagination, and remember to keep filling the cup…

Luv,

Tamsin 🙂

I am worth it

P.S. The Amazing David Coe added on to this concept with words I FULLY believe in and support! Go HERE for those!

P.S.S. Here’s a pic (the one on the right, not my headshot, lol) to print, cut out, and put somewhere you’ll see it! Or go to Google and find one you like better…but I recommend that if you have trouble remembering this tidbit, you should find a way to remind yourself. 🙂

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Originally from Michigan, Tamsin L. Silver is the creator/writer of two YA Urban Fantasy Series, Windfire and The Sabrina Grayson Novels, as well as the Web Series, Skye of the Damned. She graduated from Winthrop University with a BA in Theatre/Secondary Education and a minor in Creative Writing/Shakespeare. She has taught both middle school and high school theatre and run two successful theater companies, one of which in the place she currently lives: New York City. You can learn more about her and find links to all her things at www.tamsinsilver.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 comments to Hump-Day Help: Refill/Restore/Replenish

  • JReizes

    Nice post, Tamsin!

  • Razziecat

    Excellent! And a very timely reminder. Many of us are dealing with heavy winter weather right now, and it’s exhausting. It’s hard to find the energy to write after that.

    For myself, I tend to give myself a “day off” of writing on Mondays, because after the weekend, that first day back at work makes me too tired to deal with characters, world-building, dialog, etc. Sometimes I might mess around with a story, add a line here or there, but I don’t get upset if that’s all I do for that one day. Sometimes it helps to let a story simmer away in the back of your mind while you relax or do something fun. 😀