Good morning, Interwebz!
As I write this, I’m sitting in a comfy chair that looks out over this:
There are worse places to write, right?
My in-laws have a timeshare on the Oregon Coast, and they couldn’t use their week this year, so they offered it to us. I am taking advantage of the time away from home to do some thinking and planning about how I want to direct my writing for the next few years, but also resting and relaxing in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
As busy as I’ve been with travel this year, not much of it has involved simply resting. Most of our days away from home have been full and fun, but I think we often neglect actual rest when we’re on the go. Exploring new places is fun, helping family relocate is important and valuable, and visiting extended family is great, but many of those trips were intensely busy or short enough that they were quite a whirlwind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my exercise goals going forward, in part because I’ve sort of plateaued in strength training and endurance. I’m at an age where just pushing harder is probably not the best decision. It’s too easy to burn out or injure oneself at 54. And I have to confess–I don’t add a lot of rest into my weekly workout schedules. Sometimes I stop a workout when I’m just too fatigued, but then I’m often frustrated with myself for not pushing through. I do have at least one day per week when I don’t exercise at all, but that may not be the best strategy, either.
The truth is that any exercise routine needs active rest days built into the plan. Active rest involves some kind of low- to moderate-level workout that doesn’t overly tax the body. It could be yoga or Pilates, a brisk walk, a light jog–something that just stimulates the body a little bit. Apparently, active rest is better for recovery than no exercise at all; it helps muscles recover more quickly, removes post-workout toxins from the body, and promotes blood flow to the muscles and joints, which helps alleviate inflammation.
I think this lesson doesn’t just apply to exercise. I think it applies to my writing, too.
You all know that I’ve crashed and burned before. Maintaining balance has been a constant struggle for me for years. And right now, although I haven’t been overworking, I have been feeling very unbalanced. I’ve been struggling with how to divide my time between fiction and commercial writing, how to market both, and whether to take either one or both in some kind of different direction.
Don’t worry–I’m not going to stop writing fiction. I have learned the hard way that that isn’t a solution. I am continuing to court the Muse regularly.
However, I can’t go on feeling pulled in three or four different directions.
So this week is about active rest. I’m not just lounging, though there is a bit of that. I’m writing out my dreams, prioritizing goals, and making plans. This year has taught me not to over-plan or set unrealistic goals, so I’m attempting to be more realistic and kinder to myself. I’m actively resting with my exercise, too–I’m taking short, easy jogs and navigating the 85 steps down to the tidepools near our room (85 steps down means 85 steps up). And The Man and I are hanging out together without a lot of pressure on our time, just chatting, eating good food, and thinking out loud about our own goals for these empty nest years.
Think of this week as my corporate retreat with my business partner to come up with our strategic plan for long-term growth.
Work, fitness, life–they all involve an ebb and flow of energy, motivation, and effort. This week is an ebb for me. But the ebb has a purpose; it gathers strength and energy in preparation for the flow that follows.
I am planning to be back next week with part two of my side character post, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get to the point of brainstorming more topics for this blog during my planning this week.
I hope you all find some time for active rest this week!