You Can’t Pour From an Empty Jar – #MFRWauthor

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.

Jar 01 Unsplash smallIt’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.

Moody Blue 01For 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 alarm clock smallduring 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 TV smallwithout 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.

Uintas 04 smallWhen 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.

Christmas 2008And, 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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8 thoughts on “You Can’t Pour From an Empty Jar – #MFRWauthor

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Like you, I find that since I became an authors, reading can be a rather fraught experience. It can be hard to get myself out of the mindset of reading like a writer — mentally rewording or critiquing the plot.

  2. maureenbonatch says:

    I agree with Ed- it’s hard to read like I used to and not be thinking about the story like I writer. I also agree with you that there is nothing better than a day with nothing that you have to do, or anywhere to go- it’s like a gift.

  3. storimom2 says:

    Hubby and I took a drive last night w/o the kids and it was sooooo nice not to hear, “where are we going? You missed the turn….when can we go home?” Or asking to stop for ice cream/bathroom break/something to drink. Peace and quiet.

  4. Ellie Mack says:

    I agree absolutely – editing has turned my love of reading into another stressful experience as most of what I read is what I am working on to edit. It has caused me to read everything with an editorial slant. (Gah! THey used here instead of hear when they are implying the location.)
    I don’t think I have ever had an unscheduled day other than post-surgery. That doesn’t count because it has its own stressors. Interesting idea.

  5. Meka James says:

    An unscheduled day is nice. Now that school is back in session things are about to get busier with everyone’s schedules. I remember one year asking for a doorknob that locked. LOL My kids had a habit of just barging into my room without knocking and the lock was broken. It was a great gift and it taught the boys to knock when the door is closed even if I don’t have it locked.

  6. RobinMichaela says:

    I totally understand about your wish to drive through the mountains to recharge your batteries. I used to do that a lot when I lived in Colorado. There’s just something about getting back to nature that does the trick.

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