Last week on Facebook, someone shared a blog post from Marc and Angel Hack Life titled, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. While I agreed with much of the post, I was not crazy about #11: Stop being idle.
As I read Marc and Angel’s explanation—it seems that what they really want the reader to do is stop ruminating. You know what ruminating is, right? Here’s what I say in Write-A-Thon about rumination: “When we ruminate, we literally behave like a cow: chewing again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed. Psychologists think that people who consistently ruminate over bad events—especially the people who create unhelpful stories about those events—are more likely to be depressed.”
While ruminating is not helpful, being idle is an absolute necessity for writers. Again, here’s what I say about being idle in Write-A-Thon:
Idle moments create great books. . . . Without daydreams and meandering walks, how would we birth new stories? Without lazy mornings and afternoon naps, how could we imagine new ideas? Without the time to listen to music and shoot hoops, how could anyone vision a different way of expressing their ideas?
As writers, we need idle moments to dream up new ideas, plot twists, and character flaws. But we also need idle moments to reflect on the year, connect with the present, and stir up our deepest dreams for the New Year.
As we approach the shortest day of the year and celebrate the winter holidays, you are no doubt facing a daunting to-do list. (I know I am!) Between family obligations and holiday celebrations, idle time may seem like a frivolous luxury. Trust me, it’s not.
You have my permission to say no, stay in, and be idle. Resign from your job as Master of Holiday Happiness and rest. Turn off the computer and your cell phone and watch the lights. Drink a cup of tea. Spend oodles of time doing absolutely nothing. That’s my plan!