21 Days without Writing A Word…
… And not getting worried about the possible implications
I don’t remember when was the last time three weeks had passed without me having written a single word.
In the last three years or so, thanks but no thanks to a certain virus, its many variants and the many related restrictions, I have come back to writing in a big way.
It was not that in the pre-Covid years I was not writing at all. But balancing a professional life with a personal passion is not easy. The work related stress and travel, and the resulting fatigue, meant the focus on writing was sporadic at best.
Unfortunately for me, I am not a switch-on, switch-off writer. I need to be in a certain frame of mind to focus on writing. Being in that particular zone helps me finish at one go. On the contrary, the drafts I start working on when my mind is distracted remain unfinished more often than not.
The other things I enjoy doing do not demand that kind of focus. I can do them at regular intervals. But writing is a different proposition altogether. As such, a demanding professional life had ensured writing took a backseat for quite some years. It happened in spurts, but definitely not in the manner I wanted it to be.
Getting back to writing
Then this virus, and its many variants, first ensured work-from-home, followed by the implementation of a hybrid model. There was no regular work-related travel required. Besides, other forms of travel — which I live for and undertake at regular intervals, wasn’t also possible, owing to the infinite quarantine and testing rules.
As a result, I was able to focus a lot more on writing, on a more regular basis, that is. Once the daily professional requirement had been taken care of, I sat down to write. Over time, it became a habit again, and I began to write even when on vacation.
If I had an idea from a real-life situation, I would immediately scribble it down on the phone. Initially, my better half used to wonder what I was doing with my phone on the side of the road. Then she got used to it.
While in the last three years or so I have been able to give the writer in me a new lease of life, it is in the last 12 months in particular that this writing flight has taken off to much higher grounds… into a creative and productive stratosphere so to speak. I am reliving my younger days, when I used to complete multiple drafts on any given day.
The idea was to switch off
However, excess of anything ensures a fatigue factor. That, in turn, begs for a breather. My case is no different.
After having a highly productive 2022, it was time to take a break, a much deserved one without doubt. The idea was to switch off completely from writing. It was also about exploring the other facets of my personality, and giving my other areas of interest a chance. Those that had taken a backseat once writing had come to the forefront.
So I took off on an elaborate year-end vacation. I travelled across multiple countries again, straddled across a plethora of cities, interacted with diverse people, experienced their cultures, and savored a variety of cuisine.
There was also a fair bit of shopping. I am not particularly enthused with the idea of shopping, but when you are accompanied by your better half on a holiday, you need to take time out for that.
That being said, it was also great to get back to hiking, trekking and doing a gamut of other activities that had made my growing-up years so worthwhile.
Remaining active in dormant days
Most importantly, I took a break from writing. It was not just about writing on Medium. It’s about writing in general. I refrained from writing altogether. For these three weeks, I did not write a single word and persuaded myself to avoid the usual habit of instantly scribbling down thoughts. I don’t remember when was the last time I did this.
During my period of consistency on this platform, I had noticed a drastic decline in numbers if I didn’t post on a regular basis. On this occasion, I was not concerned about this. I had made a decision and was not worried about the possible implications.
To my surprise, the result was completely different. The drop in numbers was anything but drastic. In fact, I had managed to hold on… quite well during these 21 dormant days.
Maybe it was the result of a year’s hard work that was getting the appreciation. While it is difficult to explain this in a few words but I had managed to sustain the reader’s interest during this self-imposed break.
It is imperative to go incognito
This has also made me understand again the importance of quality output as also the concept of a self-imposed break, and its positive impact on overall productivity and consistency.
I have never taken readers for granted and always offered them a variety of topics to choose from. To maintain this diversity in approach, it is imperative to go incognito at regular intervals.
Most importantly, I was able to go back to things I enjoyed earlier in life but lost out on when the professional (and subsequently writing) life became dominant. I was able to explore again, and rediscover myself.
It is departures like these that ensure moments that become memories for a lifetime. Besides, they provide anecdotes and stories that any writer would love to include in his/her work at some point in time.
I have not an iota of doubt that I will not only write about the experiences from this trip but also switch off from writing completely again in the near future.
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