What did you do for work this summer?
How often did you work, rest and play at the same time?
Those questions were the topics for discussion at my church recently, and we were surprised to discover how often we choose to spend our time doing things that feed us in more ways than one.
Gardening, for example, is work for sure, but meditative and joy-filled too. We take days to prepare for camping trips and more days cleaning up after, but the time spent resting by the campfire or playing in the lake make it all worth while. A hike up a forest path accelerates our heart rate and strains the muscles, and then we get to enjoy the view and sleep really well at night.
When those questions were asked of me, writing came to mind.
Writing is hard work. Whether it’s paid work for my jobs or labouring over the second draft of my novel, I must give of myself mentally, physically and emotionally—sometimes painfully—to get words on the page.
I also play with the words, move them around, change them, and chew on them until they feel just right. I feel that jolt of joy when I know that I’ve captured some elusive idea exactly right.
I’m a writer because it’s something I need to do. When I have fulfilled that need, expended the energy and played with ideas, gratified rest follows. Even if I know a work is not complete or that I will need to revisit a paragraph or concept, I rest with the same sense of accomplishment that the hiker experiences at the top of the mountain. The rest serves my writing too. When I step away and then return, the time away gives me fresh perspective and I see ways to make the work even better.
What did you do this summer? Did it feel like nothing but work? Did you play? Have you rested?