After publishing my book and attending the Kāpiti Writers Retreat, I thought I’d be riding a wave of inspiration. I was full of ideas, and thought I’d be writing every day — hence my self-imposed challenge of posting on Medium twice a week.
That’s not exactly how that worked out.
After the retreat and getting Cut the Bullshit out, I was hit by a giant wave of exhaustion. My energy was so low that, when I randomly sneezed once out of the blue, I immediately suspected Covid.
But no, I wasn’t sick. I was just exhausted.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why. Life was so good, and I was hitting all these milestones!
And then it hit me: I was hitting all these milestones. My body and mind needed a break.
Getting Cut the Bullshit out was a huge one, albeit anticlimatic: I thought I would have wanted to celebrate, bake myself a cake, do a little happy dance. Instead, I pressed “publish” and went back to bed.
But my body must have thought this was still a huge thing to accomplish, and decided we were not gonna do much more for the next two weeks.
I also finished a big project from a contracting job, and spent several hours on a final presentation to deliver to the client (that went super well, but still required a huge brain effort).
Finally, I had my first performance review at my other job, which was chill but stressful to prepare.
For possibly the first time in my life, I recognised that I just needed to chill. I didn’t force myself to still post on Medium twice a week. I did try, but not very hard, and quickly gave up anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity (i.e. cooking, showering) in favour of resting.
I am proud of myself for understanding what my body and mind needed, and for honouring that. Not long ago, I would have felt guilty for not following through with my plan — even though the circumstances had changed. I would have felt bad for not writing every day.
But now, I am ok to take a break. I know my body knows what it needs. And I know that, as a creative person, rest is an essential part of the process.