ready for a rest?

One week of of the #31poems challenge is behind us. Are you ready for a rest?

Last week I wrote about how rest is vital to the creative process. Embracing the rhythm of regular rest will increase your stamina and protect you from burnout. So embrace it, even if you don’t feel like you need it.

Taking a rest is not the same as taking a break. A break disengages you from whatever you are taking a break from, but a rest gives you refreshment in the midst of it. If you’re hiking, a rest could look like sitting down on a rock and enjoying the view, while a break might be sitting down and pulling out your phone.

My weekly Sabbath rest is not so much a break from routine as a special part of routine. Rather than running away from my normal commitments, I make a commitment to be in a restful state of mind one day each week. Rather than abandoning work, I take the opportunity to step away from it, maintaining an awareness of it, so that I can know how best to approach it when I return to it. Rather than breaking away from normal life, I make rest part of my normal life.

{today’s exercise}

Now that you understand the difference between a rest and a break, how will you rest today?

What can you do to maintain momentum without exerting more energy? For some suggestions, read last week’s post, rest is vital to the creative process.

Choose one way you can take a rest without taking a break from your writing, and do it today. If that includes writing a poem, by all means do so! But don’t pressure yourself to produce a poem today.

{my process & my poem}

One night last summer, as I was nearing the launch of my first book, I couldn’t sleep.

The creative juices were flowing, sparked by the looming deadline. Still, I didn’t want to get up and turn on my computer — I needed a rest after a full day of writing and formatting the book! Instead of forcing myself to take a break, stopping the flow of creativity, I took a rest. I turned on a dim light, tore a blank page out of my journal, and picked up a pencil. I hadn’t drawn much for months, but I let my pencil wander, the lines creating a little sketch and a sort of poem, pictured here. There’s a story behind the Wizard and the Phantom …maybe I’ll share that some other time.