Take Some Time Off


Summer…even if you haven’t been a student in many, many years, this season makes us all want to loosen the schedule a bit. And teachers – heck, we make time off a priority. We try not to go more than four weeks without at least a three-day break. (And if you truly remember high school, you’ll know this is a priority for all involved.)

But as a teacher with a second job – writing books – I rarely give myself permission to take time off. Even before I jumped off the publishing cliff, I was working on degrees and summer projects during June and July. So know that this next bit of advice is directed as much towards myself as to you.

TAKE TIME OFF. Just do it. Don’t feel guilty.

And even more importantly, don’t let someone else tell you what you should be doing during that time off.

For example. I spend lots of time with my kiddos. I’m home all summer. They’re home all summer. Yup. So when I take time off, I sometimes just don’t want them to come with me. I want to drive around back roads and listen to music. I want to shop for a new pair of shoes without resorting to bribery. And my books can be just as needy as children, just as demanding.

Recently, I took time off from writing, cleaning, and other daily activities to make something. It’s not finished, but here are some pictures. (I’m quite proud, as this is the first such project I’ve attempted!)

This is our basement: the lovely-ish “man cave.” We are using an existing closet hole to create a built-in bar. But we purchased unfinished cabinets, because it was cheaper, and we like projects, right? Right.

Don’t tell the husband, but I kind of didn’t trust him with the finishing part. The whole following directions bit. And he was happy to comply. So I took time off. I barricaded the basement door, put on my favorite music, and got high on stain

In other words, I took time off and had a lot of fun.

And, like magic, here are the finished cabinets. No, not really like magic. More like this: disassemble, sand, vacuum, condition, stain, stain, clear coat, sand, vacuum, clear coat, reassemble.

The counter-top is on order, as is the (unfinished) island bar. But those are projects for another day. 

For when I am again frustrated with my daily chores and myriad requests, or my plot has more holes than my students’ jeans.

For when I just need time off. To be blank. To breathe in, and out, and appreciate the quiet.

What do you do to create your own time off?

Where should I send them?

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