When I was a kid, a Saturday without plans drove me nuts. Or a Wednesday afternoon. Or any down time, for that matter. To keep my need for entertainment sated, I played sports, joined the band, and participated in all sorts of after school activities that I’m sure drove my parents bonkers.
Because they had to drive me.
As I’ve grown older, my involvement in “afterschool fun” hasn’t slowed down. If anything, it’s picked up. Work, beekeeping, writing, socializing with friends, etc, keeps the midnight oil burning at both ends. Which is great for making days clip by. Wake up on Monday morning and the next thing I know, it’s Thursday night. A glass of wine and I’m ready to barrel into a weekend full of errands.
That said, I’ve come to appreciate an empty calendar so much more these days. Last weekend, my wife and I found ourselves without plans which was both awkward and delicious. With nothing to do, we kicked our feet up and promptly fell asleep.
Young Me would NEVER have considered dozing off for fours hours. I’d have been antsy to get out into the world and do something. Anything. But now a-days I find that a lazy Saturday is so infrequent that I can’t help but relish the slow passage of time. No TV, minimal Internet. Just let the world spool down for a little while.
What I’ve found is that Lazy Days are one of the most useful tools for me as a writer. Sure, there are all sorts of demands from needing to complete a synopsis to meeting deadlines or simply putting words to paper. Social Media is filled with memes stating you should be writing. Daily word counts hang over our heads like the Sword of Damocles. And while I fully believe in meeting or beating deadlines, there’s something to be said for giving yourself a break.
But here’s the thing, when I remove all the outside pressures, the writing itch begins clawing at me in short order. Without distractions, my mind begins to wander through plots, expanding outlines, and generally wondering what trouble my characters can get into. Lo and behold, I soon find myself hammering out pages where previously I was grinding through a scene.
Lazy Days may not work for everyone, but for me, they’re a necessity. The chance to mentally detox from the noise the world throws at us is sometimes all it takes to recharge, refresh, and re-engage.
What about you? What helps you keep on keeping on?
Joshua Roots is a former Marine, car collector, and beekeeper. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, playing video games, and reading comic books. He is still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.
OH LOOK, BOOKS!