The good thing about long breaks (even if involuntary) from a regular routine is that they help us see the big picture of an activity, a life choice, a goal. They bring clarity. It’s been more than three months since I worked on my writing projects, and I have come to recognize a couple of things.
But first, let me explain the break in my writing. The reason is, in fact, lovely: I’m pregnant with twin girls and I can’t be happier. But I was also very morning (or rather all-day sick) for a good number of weeks. Looking at screens or even reading printed books made it even worse, so I had to take an involuntary break from all I was doing and spend some time on the couch meditating next to a bucket.
This break wasn’t crazy long, but it still brought novelty back to writing (and editing). And this has made me realize how precious the occasions when we experience something for the first time are. Do you remember, for example, the experience of listening to a new album by your favorite music artist for the very first time? Every new track is a little firework of pleasure (at least if the album is as good as the previous ones). It’s just not the same when listening to the album a second time. Same thing when rereading books or repeating roller coaster rides. The secondary buzz is different. Not that repetition is valueless, but it carries a different quality and depth.
Moments when we do something for the very first time deserve to be cherished and internalized to their fullest. It will never happen again, you know: that first kiss, writing that first page of a novel, getting that first spark of an idea.
There is energy to these moments that is worth harvesting, like the energy from the Big Bang that still pervading our universe. I’m talking about the openness and flexibility that often dissipates when one gets too deep into a project. The beginner’s creativity is a special brand of creativity, which I often need to remind myself to recall during the revision stage of a writing project. Structure and organization too have a place (and a very prominent one at that) in any workflow, but without that initial flexibility, I find it harder to accept the need for big overhauls or difficult changes. Not to mention that any kind of work is much more invigorating if our feet are not stuck in the rut.