GOODBYE, WORLD. Just got my edits back on It’s Not Fair and will be disappearing into a hole for two weeks. My process is (I’m actually not sure if I can claim a “process” after only two books, but we’re gonna go with it.) not to look at my manuscript in between rounds of editing. That way when I get it back, I’m looking at it with fresh eyes.
I find that when I get some distance from the words I wrote, I can read them objectively when I return to them. As I read through my own words, I discover they’re not nearly as terrible as I remember them and, huh, I seem to like my own book.
This is true of my life, too. Just like my words, I get sick of my life and my own myopic viewpoint starts to poison the beauty and wonder around me. My kids. Our home. That we get to do this.
Last week I was staring at this blank blog post screen in WordPress and felt like I’d never find any more words ever. I didn’t have anything to say. I was an empty toothpaste tube all squeezed out and crusty around the edge. And my kids were driving me bananaballs.
I needed some distance. To make new memories and live my life a bit.
This past weekend a whole bunch of lovely things came together to give Alex and me a much-needed weekend away after the last few difficult months. I was invited to speak at an event in Savannah, and then Alex said he wanted to come because we’d never been there, and then my parents offered to come watch our kids!
And Alex and I got touristy and walked around with a guide pointing out architecture and ate yummy food and sampled pralines. I got some distance from my kids. I readjusted my perspective. And it was good.
Getting some distance between yourself and your life helps you regain the wonder and look at everything new. When you return, you see the pages of your life with fresh eyes.
We have to refill our creative tanks. Today I visited a museum with my dad that we’ve been meaning to visit for over a year. We finally jumped in the car and did it. And as I wandered up and down the walls of paintings and photographs my mind came alive. I remembered how to dream and see the world from a different perspective.
I felt energy seep down into my dried up pores.
I don’t know what’s available and interesting to you where you are, but wherever you are, take a little time to refill. Get a little distance from your life.
Visit a bookstore and stroll through the aisles. (This one has gourmet chocolates tucked amongst the books!)
Take a walk through a park or the woods or around a city block. (I stuck my hand in the mouth of this lion and pretended to be Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.)
Go to a museum or gallery and wander the rooms. Stare at the brush strokes. Marvel at how the artist catches the light.
Go for a drive and listen to classical music and let your mind move around the notes or enjoy the silence. In my family we still joke about the time on a trip out west when we passed a dilapidated old shack in a field and my dad mused, “Doesn’t it make your mind go wild?” I was in junior high on a road trip with my family in our Ford Taurus wagon and the only thing that made my mind go wild was Meeting a Boy. But now, yes, Dad, yes, an old shack does make my mind go wild and we need our minds to go wild with creativity as we discover the what-ifs and what-could-bes. We need to let our minds escape for a few moments and roam free.
Get a little distance, and when you come back, you’ll have more ideas, more energy, and a better perspective on where you’ve been and where you’re going. I’m going to dig into my book now.