“Slow Mo” — that’s shorthand for “slow motion” in the film industry, and it aptly describes the kind of day I had today. It was slow going, from start to finish. I can’t really explain why, but my motor seemed stuck in idle. It was exasperating, but over time I’ve learned that days like this come with the territory. Writing is mentally taxing and sometimes, your brain — or my brain, at least — doesn’t want to kick in and meet the demands I want to make of it. It craves a day off — and so, it takes one.
What to do, what to do? After experiencing my ups and downs on this front, I’ve learned a few things that might prove helpful if you (or someone you know) are experiencing this kind of setback:
Let go of your frustration: Getting frustrated doesn’t help. While it’s tempting to start berating yourself about not being focused enough or trying to bully yourself into accomplishing something you consider productive, I’ve found that none of this helps. The more frustrated you become, the longer it takes to get past this kind of hurdle.
Let go of your agenda: I had certain things I wanted to accomplish today with my revision, but once it became clear that, for whatever reason, I lacked the mental energy to achieve them, I let my agenda go. Clinging to it seemed counterproductive, so I released it.
Go for a less-ambitious goal: When I saw I just didn’t have much gas today, I contented myself with coming up with a simpler goal and working toward it. There was a small research project I needed to finish as part of my revision, so I focused on getting it done. It was straightforward and involved surfing the ‘net, which is a pretty low-energy activity, so it met my needs perfectly. And it still fed into my overall goal of completing my novel revision, so it proved reasonably productive. That was good enough for me.
Get some rest: It’s more than likely that my “slow mo” day can be traced to a restless night, so I’m planning to hit the hay earlier tonight and see if a good night’s sleep will rev me up tomorrow.
Slow days don’t have to be “low” days — just ride them out and write on!