On Taking a Lunch Hour — Or Not

Fellow wool-gatherers
Fellow wool-gatherers

On advice from my friend Elizabeth, and as mentioned in my last post, I tried to take lunch hours this week. There’s a reason why they’re built into the 9-to-5 work day, after all. It makes sense to give ourselves a break for refueling on all levels: food for the body, relaxation for the brain, maybe some socializing for the soul.

From Tuesday on, I managed to get out of the house for my lunch hour around 5:00 p.m. Not exactly optimal, but still, I counted this as a step in the right direction. Elizabeth and I had been talking about how I can get at least one measly hour’s worth of fiction in each day during the week. Hence, a lunch hour.

The key is to actually leave my home and my WiFi. And, in fact, it did work even though my lunch hours occured so late in the day. I managed a few hours worth of fiction while sipping a nonfat, decaf latte in my favorite coffeehouse. And this helped my mood, yet…

Why did I still feel like crying sometimes? I don’t know what’s going to become of me. Honestly. I feel cornered by all the decisions I’ve made in my life that have landed me here: Knowing which work will truly make me happy, not knowing how I’m supposed to save for retirement and all that practical stuff…

So, though I’ve halted the descent down the depression slide, it’s still there, lurking. I still wonder how people with real lives — real career, kids, tons of responsibilities — get their novels written. Don’t they need tons of downtime to let the brain juices burble and sift? Maybe not. But I guess I do.

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6 thoughts on “On Taking a Lunch Hour — Or Not

  1. Lisa, I’m very sorry to hear that you’re feeling like this. I struggle with that same feeling when I look at my life and see the way my decisions seem to have closed things off for me. It’s a little like how you feel when you’re about 1/3 of the way into a novel, in fact. The answer with the novel is to just keep writing, or to stop and maybe take a walk and do some thinking. Because even though it seems like your plot is landlocked, there’s still the possibility of making something coherent out of it. and I think you will find that that is also true of your life. it is more shapely than you think — although when you are in the middle of warding off depression, that can be very, very had to see. I’m so glad your friend Elizabeth recommended that lunch hour. And let me add that you should also have a walk time. (Or time for whatever other physical thing you love to do that doesn’t require time, equipment or a partner.) Much love to you, Lily

    1. Bloglily, hi! Thanks for the note. I love your analogy–it’s so hopeful! Because I do know that feeling with novels, and that the feeling is a false sense of entrapment because there’s always a way to write the story so it pleases me…And so my life too?

  2. The lunch hour is a great idea, even at happy (?) hours. I can understand your frustration. I have a career and a kid and can’t really get anything written. It’s great if you can manage one hour of writing each week, it’s the kind of baby step that will lead you to somewhere eventually, even if you don’t know it right now. As far as this blog tells me, you write beautifully. I know I’m not the only one to think so, because otherwise they wouldn’t have given you a grant for it, right? As for planning for retirement, duh, even financial planners don’t have a clue right now, so don’t worry too much!

    1. Hi Smithereens! Thanks so much–I don’t feel like much of a writer at the moment, which is probably why the melancholia…And retirement? You are so right!

  3. Hi, Lisa —
    I completely empathize with you. I think all writers go through these sorts of phases. I know I certainly have. (And even if you might not feel like it at the moment, you are definitely a writer). But you’re doing the most important thing: writing through it. Even though you’re feeling low at the moment, you are soldiering on. You haven’t given up, and that says a lot about your dedication. I hope you can find even a small bit of joy in the act of writing during this low time, and I hope it will carry you through to the better days that will be ahead.

    1. Thanks, DeAnna. I appreciate your comment. It’s an itchy feeling — you know what I mean? — when I can’t get on with what I really want to do…But I am getting more fiction in than I was a few weeks ago, so that’s good.

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