Kroeker & Craig’s “On Being a Writer,” chapter 11

Chapter 11: Rest

The writing life is rewarding. Anne Lamott calls it a “gift” to find a place in the writing world. …

Sometimes the gift looks like rest.

This was my favorite chapter.

As I write today I am exhausted. It is 8:30 a.m., and I’m ready for a nap. After writing with no breaks for 10 months, with various significant personal crises along the way, I took one week off for vacation, lost the following week for an especially tragic family funeral, then wrote feverishly—20,000 words in three weeks for the December issue of the magazine.

My job keeps the writing pace pretty steady, with only short breaks. I’ve kept a blog schedule that does the same. Mostly, that’s kept me sane the last seven years. But it’s January, and I’m tired. In late November/early December, we had three major crises. Two of those became less crisis-y, and we had a restful, quiet Christmas—our first in a long time.

I remember a particular day a couple of years ago, one of my worst ever. I called my bosses to let them know what was going on so that they’d make sure someone double-checked my editing. (It’s a good thing because I misspelled Montessori.) They said they understood, but also told me I had to make the deadline that day because of the publishing schedule. I promised I would, and I did. The next day was worse.

That’s what the last few years have been like. Bad day, work anyway, try to sleep, wake up, walk the dogs, make tea, write. In between there have been gifts from wonderful people, like on the worse day after the bad day, my bosses called to check up on me. Moments like that have sustained me. Sometimes you can’t check out. Sometimes people depend on you.

I’d love to have Ann’s week on the UP that she describes, complete with lots of sitting. I need a release from not just months but years of strain. I need the inspiration that comes from “not writing.” I need “lavish periods away from writing.” I have absolutely no idea how to do that.

Then again, if I had it, I’d probably write about not writing.

Comments

  1. Hee-hee. Yes, you probably would write about not writing, but maybe that would feel restful, too…almost like actually not-writing?

    I didn’t know how to rest either, that year we went to the UP, until I was there. I had to just sort of ease into it, literally (those Adirondack chairs) and emotionally.

    I may be wrong about this, but it seems like you are good about taking daily breaks, with tea, cycling or walking. If you can translate that into a long-form rest…