Time for Time Out by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “Time for Time Out.” Enjoy!
That the holidays can be a busy and hectic time goes without saying. There are gatherings to plan, gifts to buy and cookies to bake. There are visits to make and travel plans to finalize, things to do and people to see.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find time for oneself in the season of giving, receiving, and socializing. Winter, however, is also a season of turning inward, reflection, cocooning and nesting.
It may be difficult to find moments of quiet amid the chaos, but when those moments arrive it’s critical to make time to take stock and to plan for the coming year.
This is true for the busy writer and artist, and especially true when you have lofty goals to meet, old projects to complete, and new projects to get off the ground.
Tips on how to check in with yourself
I have one project that I’m racing to complete before the year ends and a new one to begin, so as I participate in the hustle and bustle of the coming holidays, I also plan on taking time out to think about where I am right now and where I aspire to be by this time next year.
Here are some tips on how to check in with yourself while you’re checking off items on your to-do list:
- Schedule some “me” time around the “we” time.
While there’s no getting around the obligatory activities around the end of the year (and who would want to—it is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?), block out some hours to reconnect with your inner muse.
Quiet moments with a writing or craft project help me to remain centered and be less frazzled.Being frazzled lessens one’s enjoyment of the holiday season and those quiet moments of solitude and creativity are vital to a writer.
The muse doesn’t stop singing during the busy times; it’s just up to us to stop and listen to her song. (Tweet this.)
- Continue taking steps forward, even if they’re just baby steps.
Just because it may be difficult to set aside several hours at a time doesn’t mean that shorter episodes of respite can’t be just as productive.
Was there a letter or e-mail that you’ve been putting off composing? A phone call to make? An outline to jot down?
Do it now and feel better immediately! Then reward yourself with a treat.
What better time than to lighten your load and get those nagging details off your mind so that you can be more fully present for those you love?
- Take some time to just daydream.
Even though you may be in the midst of a sea of activity, taking a moment here and there to think about the next scene of your novel, to follow your characters as they plan their holiday activities (an opportunity for some great insights into character, I should think!), or for a positive visualization of the good things that will flow from your writing efforts in the new year will make for a most refreshing pause.
If all those things sound too taxing and your mind is racing too fast for any of that, hit the “power off” button, find a quiet place, and clear your mind for some good old fashioned meditation.
Finding some time to slow down and turn inward this season will make the times when you have to be “on,” out and about more fun and relaxing.
See you next year—and happy writing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nevada McPherson McPherson lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is an associate professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge. She has written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, plays, short stories and the graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons. Queensgate, the sequel to Uptowners, is her third graphic novel. For more information, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.