I’ve just spent the last three weeks in a cast, thanks to a sore calf and ankle that turned into a partially torn Achilles tendon. Today, the cast came off. (And there was much rejoicing!) I’m still hobbling around in a big, ugly black boot, but I’m thrilled to be cast- and crutch-free. My shoulders are really thrilled, believe me.
While I was sitting around with my clunky leg and ankle elevated, I had a lot of time to think. And journal. I journaled because when I tried to be a good little author and work on my current project, all I could think about was why did my toes looked funny or how frustrating it was not to be able to just walk downstairs to the television, for Pete’s sake.
As long as I was so grumpy, I figured I would write out my frustrations in an old spiral notebook. Once they were off my chest, I could just toss the pages. There is never any reason to hang on to psychic garbage. This is similar to Julia Campbell’s ‘morning pages’ in her perceptive book on creativity, The Artist’s Way, although my pages were not written first thing in the morning and I didn’t care if they led to increased creativity or not. I just wanted my Whiny Inner Brat to shut up.
And for the most part, it worked. I could moan and groan as much as I wanted on paper, knowing that they were headed for the shredder and no one, including me, would ever see those complaints again. It helped to deal with a lot of the frustration of enforced inactivity.
Eventually, though, my subconscious got sick of the Whiny Brat and I started scribbling out occasional scraps of something useful. Like how to better arrange the linen/medicine closet and store the Christmas decorations. Nothing earth-shattering or award-winning, but helpful on a daily basis. I started writing about possibilities too, like what color palette I’d like if I ever get an office of my own. And ideas for future books, as well as a way to organize them before I start working on them in earnest. The latter is extremely helpful, as it drives me nuts when a new book wants to be written while I’m already working another one. I found myself saving a page here and there for later use.
So even though I’ll be in a hideous piece of footwear for several weeks and have a rather long ‘to-do’ list awaiting me, I am refreshed and ready to resume my usual routine. Which is a good thing, because once I ran out of complaints, words for my WIP started coming again, and my hero and heroine have an important scene coming up.
Has anyone else out there ever had a forced break from routine? How did you handle it? What, if anything, did you accomplish during that time?