This post is written to link with an online discussion at katemotaung.com on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today I’m posting on Chapter 11: Rest- Sometimes I stop for a while and do other things.
Rest is important- it is not something that I have always found easy to do, but a few occasions where I have pushed myself too hard have taught me that I need rest, and that taking time to rest should not be a reason for guilt. If even God rested after creating the world, what makes me think I can do without?
When I try to keep going without taking rest, I am not as productive- work feels like a chore rather than a pleasure, I take a longer time to complete tasks because I am tired, and a sense of dissatisfaction creeps in. When I take time to rest and be refreshed, I can enjoy work and think clearly and I know I am a much nicer person to be around.
I liked the idea discussed in the book of using “wordless rhythmic activities” to rest. Music has always been a source of rest for me- both listening and playing. Playing with others is something I try to prioritise and make time for, and playing by myself also helps me to switch off and unwind- I have played piano for several years and have been attempting to learn guitar (though I have been finding that hard to fit in this month as I have been writing more).
On one occasion I was moving to a new city and there was a lot to organise. Accommodation and transport were the priorities, and money was a bit tight. I had not given more than a passing thought to how much I would miss being able to play piano. Then, out of the blue, someone I hardly knew told me they had a keyboard they no longer wanted and offered it to me free of charge! I have always thought of this as a beautiful example of how God knows what we need (not just the obvious things) and can provide just at the right moment. While being able to play piano doesn’t seem like an essential, the move did come at a stressful time and I really needed those moments of rest.
Other than music, my main way of resting would be walking, preferably by the sea or in the country- somewhere beautiful and quiet. That is not always possible but I do try to make time on a regular basis for some form of exercise.
I don’t feel the need, at the moment, to rest from writing as it is something I am only beginning to do regularly, but I think it is important to find a balance in life and to have time for different kinds of activities. If I was spending all the time when I am not at work writing that would not be healthy. I am conscious that doing the Write 31 Days Challenge in October will mean a busy month of writing (and reading other people’s posts) and that it will be important to build in times of rest in the midst of that, to make sure that I do spend time doing other things. I have regular activities I am involved in anyway as well as 3 concerts to play in during the month and I also have a theatre trip planned. I know these things will be refreshing, but today I took this chapter as permission to try out another rest activity I have always wanted to do, and booked tickets to go and watch a session of the World Gymnastics Championships.
I also liked the discussion in the book about how time daydreaming or seemingly doing nothing can actually be productive- I have found that to be true, and I liked this quote I found from John Lubbock, which seems to sum this up: “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”