It’s Friday again, and that puts us at Week 33 of the Marketing For Romance Authors 52-Week Blog Challenge. This week’s prompt is What I Do To Recharge. It’s a good topic, I think. As an adult human being, it’s far too easy to burn the candle at both ends without fully recharging, Do that often enough and you end up with a serious case of burnout.
It’s difficult enough to be pleasant to other people when you’re burned out. Or maybe I should say being civil is a challenge in and of itself. Trying to be anything more than merely civil can feel next to impossible. It was probably in church that I first heard the idea that no one can pour from an empty jar, and it turns out to be true. Whether you’re run yourself ragged chasing kids, working a demanding job, dealing with aging parents, wrangling teenagers, trying to maintain an orderly house, or just meeting deadline after deadline without relief, too much pouring out soon results in an empty vessel and an empty vessel has nothing to give to anyone.
But just because I recognize this as a good topic, that doesn’t mean I have ready answers. I’m as guilty as the next person of pouring out too much and filling back up too little. Some of the most depleting times of my life were when my kids were younger, when I’ve been on deadline as a writer, when my daughter sank into debilitating depression and attempted suicide, and when I was in a relationship that demanded everything and gave almost nothing in return. Finding ways to recharge myself hasn’t always been easy.
For many years, I would have told you that I recharged by reading. I mean, what writer wouldn’t name reading as the number one way to recharge, right? Unfortunately for me, I turned reading and editing into a business, and I’ve spent a lot of hours over the years reading in situations that only drained me more.
I will say reading, but only with the caveat that its reading for pleasure. Not something I have to read. Not something I should read. Not something written by someone else in my genre, but reading simply for pleasure. That does recharge me in a way few other things do.
Time off is another way I like to recharge, especially time off without clocks involved. I remember once, years ago, telling my kids that’s all I wanted for my birthday–a day during which I didn’t have to think about what time it was at all. At that point in my life, I was so busy getting up so I could hurry and get the kids ready, so I could hurry and get to work, so I could hurry and do my job, so I could hurry and drive home, so I could hurry and make dinner, so I could hurry and get the kids to bed, so I could hurry and go to sleep, so I could wake up early the next day and start all over, the idea of a day without a clock sounded like heaven. It was. We did what we felt like when we felt like it and had one of the most restful days I can remember. It’s still one of my favorite ways to recharge.
TV. Yes, I’ll admit it freely. An evening in front of the TV with a good show playing and without my phone or laptop anywhere near me is still a preferred way to recharge. It costs next to nothing, requires nothing of me. I don’t even have to actually be dressed to do it. Pajamas work just fine. My viewing choices run the gamut from reality TV like The Amazing Race, or Big Brother or Dancing With the Stars to comedy like The Big Bang Theory and The Graham Norton Show, to drama like The Blacklist and Longmire. Whatever I’m watching, if you don’t let me Facebook or tweet or text while I’m engaged, my well is refilling.
When I am near the mountains, an aimless drive along a curving mountain road is a favorite way to recharge. Driving along the beach now is okay, but sun and sand don’t work nearly as well as soaring peaks and sheer drop-offs for putting some zip in my step. I’ve lived along the beach for 8 years now, and I still wake up some mornings, excited about the possibility of taking a drive into the mountains, only to remember I can’t do it.
And, of course, the most important one of all: spending time with my family. I live with Older Daughter, which is great. She and I have endless, fascinating (at least to us) conversations. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. The same is true of Younger Daughter, but I live too far away from her and the grandkids for face-to-face time. Even so, interacting with them via phone, text, or Messenger is the one exception to my TV-recharging rule. Any time I spend with my kids and grandkids is time spent refilling the well for me.
What are some of the ways you recharge?
This is a bloghop, so make sure you check out the ways some of the other participating authors fill the well. You’ll find links to their posts below:
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