Are Creatives Allowed to Rest?

Can we talk about rest today?

Confession time: I’m in a bit of a writing funk. It’s not for lack of ideas; I have plenty. But I can’t seem to make them happen.
Someone asked me the other day if I was going to have a bit of a rest, now that The Choir Girls series is complete and fully available. My knee-jerk reaction was “Nope! I’m pressing on!” Because, honestly, I feel like I have to. The most pervasive, popular wisdom about writing is “Write Every Day. No Exceptions.” And I’m a rule follower, so I have to write. Or else I’m not a writer. But I want to be.
Today I’m questioning that wisdom. I stare out my window and I see that the tress in my backyard are almost bare. They’ve gone out in a blaze of glory with brilliant colors, but the crazy fall winds have stripped most of them of their leaves. And now those trees get to rest for six months.

Why do we humans have to produce constantly, every day, while nature gets to have a rest? I’m starting to wonder if we shouldn’t take our cues from nature a bit more. We need our plants to rest so they can bear us an abundance of good fruit in their season, rather than scant, depleted fruit all year. Doesn’t that same concept apply to the creative arts?

I’m not saying that I should take six months off. But I am wondering if maybe I have permission to have a season of rest, where I’m not expecting myself to produce anything. Does “Write Every Day” actually include planning and studying the craft too, and not just a word count goal?

I guess I’m wondering what my fellow creatives would have to say about this. Do you feel the pressure to produce something every single day too? Do you think there’s value in actually taking a break from producing? Do I need to suck it up and keep hitting the Arbitrary Word Count Goal that every writer is encouraged to have each day?

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4 thoughts on “Are Creatives Allowed to Rest?

  1. Good questions Tori…and a valid discussion. Honestly…when I read your immediate reaction was that creatives MUST rest. I’ve come to realize that it’s in the resting, reflecting, being fed, growing for personal growth’s sake, that actually prepares us for another season of harvesting work. I wonder if there’s just a different kind of energy in the resting season….like you’d still write everyday…but perhaps less time, less words, and purpose the extra time to read, reflect, listen to soul-filling podcasts. I’ve been reading a book by Makoto Fujimura on creativity and he really drills in that art/creative work is the outward expression of something that has already been happening internally. So, if we never let anything form within us, I think you are right to assume that our work would dry out and not be able to produce anything good. Living life, interacting with others in real-time, processing God’s Word for me and what He’s forming inside of me, then bubbles out into my work. I don’t know…those are my thoughts. I love this topic:)

    1. Good thoughts! I think I’m wresting most with what “writing every day” means. Does it literally mean fulfilling a word count? Or can it include the other things: reading, reflecting, etc. I’m still new to this writing game, and I’m trying to figure out what the work load is actually like, while also taking into consideration the fact that writing is creating, and you can’t create out of a dry well.

  2. Sometimes a slight period of rest gives light to better ideas. So if you need to write something every day….write a word of encouragement to a friend, or a love note to a daughter or husband. Then hit it again the next day. ?

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