Saturday, July 16, 2016

Taking Time to Recharge

by Jewel Leann Williams

I don't know about anyone else, but with summer comes doldrums. I mean, BIG time doldrums. Not only does it feel like the crispy oven-like heat will just never end (yup, I'm an Arizonan), but my whole family is home, and they are all cranky and uncooperative from staying up late, getting up late, and not being able to go outside for fear of instant vaporization a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. We tend to sort of sit around in a funk, unless we have miraculously planned some escape from it for the day.

(Disclaimer: I'm not whining, really. I work nights and my husband is working days; it becomes difficult to schedule outings and things, so yeah, we really are that family that was binge-watching before binge-watching was cool.)

At any rate, all of this makes it very hard to write, even my biweekly blog.

Add to that the mayhem of the past month or so, and my head is spinning, my heart is hurting, and I am at a loss for what I could possibly say that would matter an iota in the grand scheme of things.

It occurs to me that other people may be feeling the same, or at least suffering some of the symptoms of the summer (and world insanity) doldrums.  In that spirit, I present to you some ideas for recharging your writer's mind, body, and soul.

First and foremost, we all need to acknowledge that we NEED recharging. As moms, wives, and creative minds, we tend to think we always need to be "on"--that's just not true. We don't expect athletes to play games every single day with no break, or dentists or doctors to do their dentistry and doctoring 24/7, yet we don't often give ourselves permission to take a break.  I'm also proposing that this break can't just be an escape-break, but needs to be one specifically designed to recharge. (Sometimes escaping is all we need to recharge, but sometimes, we just go back to the same grind and the battery depletes itself faster than a 2005 Nokia battery.)

Okay, with that said, here are some tips:

UNPLUG!!! Not only do many of our electronic past-times (talking to you, Facebook) waste our time, but we tend to get caught up in the emotions of our newsfeeds.

Something like this:


Up, down, love, anger, frustration, fear--emotional stimulus without any time for processing, without any real physical engagement--it is taxing and it is draining your emotional battery. So dump it, even if only for a day. But for that day, REALLY dump it. Rest your psyche a little.

Get back to nature:

Did you know that camping, REALLY camping, leaving all the man-made light and devices at home (you can have a campfire... and if the bathroom is far, a flashlight)--has been shown to reset your body's biological clock and combat the detrimental effects of artificially altering our circadian rhythms?  It's true! (Those detrimental effects range from the mild morning drowsies, to weight gain, substance abuse, mood disorders.... yuck.) Here's a link to the article (which has its own link to an informative video):

But even if you can't camp, going for a walk in a park, sitting outside in the moonlight, breathing air that didn't go through a machine to get to you--connecting with nature can help clear your head and give you a boost. Sometimes that little added zip is what you might need to refocus.

Exercise.  I groan even as I type it. But did you know that exercise increases your mitochondria? When I read this, I instantly thought of Charles Wallace's little farandolae and mitochondria in A WIND IN THE DOOR, the sequel to one of my favorite books, A WRINKLE IN TIME. Charles Wallace is sick and his mitochondria are dying, leaving him constantly out of breath. Saving the mitochondria is key to saving him, and the universe.

But I digress. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of our cells. Exercise makes mitochondria grow, thereby giving our cells and our bodies much needed energy.


This brings me to another point:

Spend time--real time--with the people you love, or with people who inspire you.  I'm also saying that it needs to be real time, reconnecting time. Not "everyone sitting around watching a movie" time, or "Oh my gosh just please can we do the dishes" time.  But the kind of time that reminds you why you like these people to begin with. Time that reminds you why you like YOU.

It can even be spending real, quality time, with the person you want to be. Remember when you were a fired-up, can't nothin' hold me back, look out world, kind of writer? What made that person tick? What did you do then? Sometimes getting in touch with that person can help you to get back to that place.

This is where ANWA (or other writers' groups, or even an informal group of writerly friends) can really help. Conferences, retreats, meetings, even write-in's have always helped me to truly recharge and reconnect to the reason I write, and help me to find the muse that seems to be increasingly finicky the busier and more zombified-by-my-crazy-life I get.

Alrighty, there you have it. A few tips. I think I'll off and try one or more of those.  Once you've recharged, get back to writing!! You don't want to waste all of your newly charged batteries now, do ya?

What are some tried-and-true methods you have for recharging your writerly battery?  Share in the comments!


  1. Well, I'm going on the Pioneer Trek with our stake Youth Conference this week, so I guess I'll be checking off every item on this list! And I'm so excited!

  2. One of the things I liked about being on the cruise was that my time on Facebook was limited during the day and most of the time I was unplugged and spent the time recharging my batteries and they needed recharging



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