When the going gets tough, the tough get going… Sooner or later though, even the tough need to take a break before they burn out. After a hard semester full of unexpected life challenges, I really needed a break. I decided to refresh myself with a writing retreat and internet detox.
I escaped to my grandma’s little unit at Caloundra with some books and a stockpile of snack food. There’s something about sea air that is cleansing and relaxing, and I indulged in midday naps and long beach walks. I could just feel the breeze blowing away all the cobwebs in my brain.
I’ve heard someone say that you’re most authentically you when you’re alone, probably because there are no inhibitions or external influences weighing on you. For that reason, I’m glad I snatched some alone time. I love to surround myself with beautiful friends, but getting a short break from conflicts and dynamics and pressures made me feel a bit better grounded. I now have more strength to deal with that stuff.
I committed to trying to finish my novel for NaNoWriMo, so I had some pretty ambitious goals I wanted to achieve. However, reaching those goals became stressful and exhausting. I decided that since the whole point of a retreat was to feel refreshed, I wasn’t going to wear myself out. So I started writing early in the morning, but then put everything down at lunch time to spend the rest of the day reading and relaxing. I could have done more work, but the balance left me feeling much more fulfilled.
Detoxing from the internet for three days is surprisingly easy. When I didn’t have good ol’ Facebook and YouTube to help me procrastinate my good writing hours away, I found it much easier to get work done. Then when work was finished for the day, I turned to a book instead of a laptop. I enjoyed getting lost in Vernon God Little much more than getting lost in the backlogs of Tumblr. The one thing I did notice though was that I missed sharing with people. Dozens of times during my stay I saw something that made me think of someone I care about. Normally, I would use the internet to share that thing with them instantly. Getting away by yourself is fab, but any longer than three days and I wouldn’t have been able to resist sending messages to my friends.
Get this, first day back and I have a dentist’s appointment. What a rude return to the real world! I hope that as we get closer to holiday season you can get a break and take some time to look after yourself. Writers, don’t forget you can add me as a Writing Buddy on NaNoWriMo!