A Little More Me Time

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I am always working. Revising a manuscript. Creating a blog post. Reading blogs and commenting. Facebooking. Dreaming up a new event and organizing it. Drafting a workshop. Tracking sales. No matter what I get done, there is more in my queue to do. The work never stops.

My office is in my bedroom. So I never ever am that far from my work.

And it has always been my choice to make my career my #1, 2 and 3. I think it requires that much focus to do a career change in your mid-thirties.

But I need to build in a little more me time.

Monday, my oldest and dearest friend, Lindsay, and I went for a hike.

I forgot how much fun it is to just walk with someone on unfamiliar terrain. To stop and figure out where the path goes or how to navigate over hundreds of exposed tree roots. To be so in the moment that everything else slides away.

It felt like a dozen years fell away. I used to do this all the time in my 20s. Just go exploring for the fun of exploring. Not knowing what you might encounter in front of you.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in building this new career that I forget to factor in me time. Time that is away from the computer and the books. Time that is  in no way work-related. Time that is purely about facing something new and unique.

When I lived in the city, Brett and I used to take one day a week and make it ours. We had an adventure every week. I miss that.

Being out amongst the trees and hearing the water rushing over the rocks was such a departure from my routine. I forgot how much fun it can be to just be outside.

Such a welcome break.

Lindsay and I only hiked for 75 minutes, but it was invigorating. The next day, I was much more productive. I need those times away from work.

So this summer, I am going to schedule in more me time. More offline time. I am going to take more intrepid hikes with Lindsay and even go on a few adventures with Brett.

 

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I sold 60 books in April.

 

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39 Responses to A Little More Me Time

  1. I’m so happy to hear you’re working in some “me” time this summer, Kourtney. It’s so important to step away from our work, computers and phones and spend time with special friends and family. In the end, that’s what’s really important.

    • Jill, it’s funny when I worked for a big company I had no problem carving out me time at night and on weekends, but because I work for me and I love what I do, I find it so much harder to step away. But the hiking reminded me that time away is essential to staying productive. 😉 Clearing my head and being in the moment with friends makes me a better writer.

  2. I understand where you’re coming from completely, especially as I’m turning 40 on Saturday! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our creative endeavors, it’s easy to lose site of things. A break from the keyboard never hurt anyone!

    • It’s funny, there was so much less pressure before 35. For some reason, it felt so much easier to bounce back from a mistake then. Happy Birthday! It is. Especially when they are our passion. But breaks help. And I have to keep reminding myself that time away is never time wasted. 🙂

  3. K. Lyn Wurth says:

    Good for you! And thanks for the vicarious hike…it’s too windy here to do anything but walk my dog. Maybe I need to find some woods nearby!

    • Thanks. It’s a gorgeous place. I haven’t been out there in years, but it was an invigorating experience. Hope you can find some nice woods to traipse through too!

  4. Kourtney, you are a wonder and a whirlwind of productivity. I am glad that you are able to take some time out to revitalize and relax and renew. Wishing you great success.

    • Thanks Naomi. I try to put my best self forward here, but I do get burnt out and exhausted too. I really needed this walk. It was perfect timing because I started Reckonings’ revisions the next day. 🙂 Hugs!

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Glad you had a chance to get out. I find I focus less on the moment now than I did when I was working crazy job hours. I think being online and on my computer so much is the source of that. It’s different to work a 12-hour (or more) day around people than it is to do so at home. At home those hours are dispersed from morning into night, and we never quite break away, always one more tweet or email or blog comment to check before bed. I used to shut down my computer by eight pm to avoid doing this, but I got busier on social media and haven’t done this of late. Your post reminds me I need to be better about this. If not, I–and the rest of us doing this–risk burnout.

    • I agree. When I was in an office 10-12 hours a day it was very different than being my own boss at home. I really have to limit the social media time and make sure I get hours of reading in every day to keep my brain story focused. And work always creeps into my downtime when I’m home. I really need to go out in the woods or be in a pool to truly disengage with social media. 😉 I’m trying to change my perspective of downtime as necessary and healthy for my writing life. 🙂

  6. Those times away are CRITICAL! And the added productivity is the proof… and the pudding! 60 books in April– Fantastic! Mazel, Kourtney!

    • You are 100% right! Yup. All that fresh perspective and energy helped so much this week. Thank you! We had 3 events and I have bookmarks at 2 charity events where my book was given away. I think that kind of visibility really helps sales. 🙂

  7. davidprosser says:

    Congratulations on 60 books. Getting away from work is a great idea.I dedicate Tuesdays to my grandson and over the weekend if my brother is here we’re all over the place. The only problem is the work you come back to. I just had 24 hours no internet and came back to 305 messages Aaarghh but the breaks are worth it- enjoy yourself.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Sundays are usually Mom and I running errands. I try to work half days on Saturdays. It’s hard to strike that balance. But 70 minutes a day of exercise is a great break. OMG, that’s way too many emails. I couldn’t handle fielding that many in 24 hours. Best of luck! Breaks are definitely worth it. And they help the writing which means they are good to take. 🙂

  8. Sandra Tansley says:

    Wow. 60 Books. Thats Alot. Great April. Love The Pic. Hiking Is Great Fun And Forces You To Concentrate On The Moment. Keep It up.

    • It was the best month of sales in 2014. 🙂 Lots of events happened and I think that helped. It’s a beautiful place to hike. I definitely need to get back there a couple times a month. 🙂

  9. Claire Duffy says:

    That’s such an important lesson to learn, and I think it takes all of us a bit longer than it should! I used to think that if I wasn’t typing then I wasn’t working, but after a while I started to appreciate the need for time to let stories percolate in my brain. Even if it feels like downtime, a part of my mind is working… at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    • Claire, it’s so true. Even when I’m on the treadmill, in the back of my mind I’m fixing a plot issue or a character glitch. Or something strikes me as wrong in the manuscript and I realize I need to address it. Downtime is good for the story and for us. And downtime should never be social media time. It’s time away from computers engaged in a completely different task.

  10. Gwen Stephens says:

    Mental health days, I call them, and we all need them. Seeing more productivity the following day is a direct sign that it’s important for you to factor in more down time. I’m glad you’ve decided to do it. I plan to cut my online time this summer, blogging 2x/month instead of weekly. More time to write, more time with my kids. A refreshing change of pace.

    • Gwen, that sounds like a great plan. I was toying with cutting the blog posts to one a week, but I think I’ll just take a blog hiatus while I’m in WI and IL for a couple weeks. 🙂 I am cutting back on Twitter and social media though. We need a life and we need time with family and friends. And summer is when lots of people take breaks so it’s the best time to do it.

  11. Gwen Stephens says:

    By the way, congrats on your awesome sales numbers for April. Do you think it correlates to any specific events?

    • I do. I sold 36 books at my event at Pat’s IGA where I gave half the profits to the American Cancer Society. That was a big boost to sales that month. It also increased my visibility in town and may have led to a few purchases at EZ Pickins and online. 🙂

  12. Yes, you need that time to inspire you – whether you feel as though you’re being inspired or not, something is seeping in there.

  13. girlseule says:

    Great news on the book sales. Getting outside in nature is just the best way to re-charge, looks like a beautiful place judging by the photos.

  14. Mayumi-H says:

    Yeah! Good for you, Kourtney! I love hearing about your process, but you are so right to take that time to just ENJOY the life and world around you. And, I agree that it almost always 100% helps our creative output, to take a break – even if it’s a short one – and remember why it is we do the things we love to do. That balance is so important, and I’m so happy to hear you’re finding it again. *hugs*

    • Thanks Mayumi. The day after I promised to be outdoors more, my editorial letter came. LOL. But I am going to strive to take a hike a week. Even with all the revision work on my plate. It is really key to staying mentally and physically fit. Hugs!

  15. Aquileana says:

    Hello Kourt;

    It sounds like a literary experience, judging for your evocative words.
    “To walk with someone on unfamiliar terrain.

    To stop and figure out where the path goes or how to navigate over hundreds of exposed tree roots”.

    I think you have caught the essence of time and duration in that walk with your friend on unfamiliar terrain.

    A timely experience that went beyond time (“Time that is purely about facing something new and unique”)

    Wonderful reading!…

    Sending hugs to you,

    Aquileana 😛

    • Hi Aquileana,

      It was a very cool moment to be immersed in. And we know I love my literary phrases. 😉

      It could almost be a metaphor for where we are going in our lives too.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Kourtney

  16. “Me” time is HUGELY important. It helps you come back refreshed and often with new ideas. Glad you took the time to enjoy yourself.

  17. EllaDee says:

    Absolutely. Everyone needs a break so they can tackle things afresh. The hike sounds wonderful.

    • I think part of the magic was doing it with a friend I’ve had since I was eight. We can say anything to each other and that is such a precious thing. To be able to turn your edit button off and share things you wouldn’t with most people. 🙂 Being out in nature added to the awesomeness too.

  18. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Alone time. So important. And I can relate, Kourtney. I’m in the middle of a roller coaster job adventure as well and you only have 24hrs in a day, right? It feels so good and rejuvenating to have a break and take care of yourself and the benefits for an even more productive workday go a long way.

    • Especially for introverts. We re-energize when we can be alone with our thoughts. Goodness sounds like an exciting time! Yes, and we have to eat, sleep and exercise to maintain optimal functioning. I really felt like that hike has been with me for 10 days. Keeping me going especially when I’m weary and I’m wondering if I can get this done. 🙂

  19. jmmcdowell says:

    Yes, that me-time is critical, even if so many other parts of our lives insist we ignore it. But very few people can maintain a high level of “work output” without down time. In fact I’d argue that no one can. Because to do do so means making drastic sacrifices to our long-term health and sanity.

    Definitely take that break when you’re on the road. Even if you’re viewing the trip partly as a break, you will still be working hard!

    • It really is. Especially in the high pressure times. I take breaks. I get in my daily workout and it helps. It counts. I’ve chained myself to the desk and gotten neck spasms. It killed my productivity. Yeah, I’ve made it clear those two weeks, I cannot be writing or revising. It’s going to be promo time and bits of me time. 🙂

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