Wiping the slate clean

The Griswolds are ready to get away from it all. Are you?
The Griswolds are ready to get away from it all. Are you?

Let's see a show of hands. How many of you took some time off this summer?

Hmmm. Interesting. It looks like quite a few of you did. Okay, let's be a little more specific. How many of you actually "got away from it all?" By this, I mean that you disconnected from everything — you were able to step away from your job or daily routine and you focused exclusively on enjoying yourself and spending time with family or friends. Let's see another show of hands.

Yup. Just as I thought — a lot less this time around. This isn't surprising at all, particularly when it comes to creative types. I was actually coaching a client the other day who is heading out of town on vacation, and we had to stop in the middle of our session to remember what the purpose of a vacation is. Being a mom, she chuckled upon answering and said, "You mean in theory?" before following up with, "to decompress. To recharge." And then she said something that struck me as something I wanted to share with all of you: "The purpose of vacation for creative people is to wipe the slate clean so that you can reboot." Filling the well, as Julia Cameron says in The Artists Way.

What she said is supremely important. Even when we do our best to disconnect from the daily grind, our minds are usually still engaged in the creative process. You may be on the beach sipping a pina colada, but you're worrying that the third act of your screenplay isn't working out. No matter where you go or what your craft is, you probably experience some form of this scenario or another. The trick is not to simply go through the motions of taking a break, but to actually do it.

Even if you're not involved in something creative right now, you still likely have difficulty taking real time off. You probably spend a lot of time working hard, trying to balance everything on your plate...but that plate always seems a bit too heavy. Particularly in this day and age, when it's nearly impossible to disconnect (due to email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, you name it) it's all the more important to find a way to make it happen.

So, here's a radical idea — what if you used these last days of August, before that go-go "Fall Fever" hits you, to reboot your creative soul? You don't even need to go away to have a "mental vacation" — whatever it takes for you to "wipe the slate clean"...do it. For some it might be a weekend away with your significant other. For others it may be a day trip to the beach. Or even just a weekend in town doing nothing but following your whims — seeing every movie you've been "meaning to see" for months now, going dancing with your friends, or trying your hand at a creative project that ISN'T related to what you normally do...just for fun (imagine that!). Just make an effort to get away from your regular routine...maybe even immerse yourself in an adventure!

So, what's it gonna be?? Whatever it is, I hope you can make the most of it and return back to your career post Labor Day with a clean slate, a full well, and a smile on your face :) I'll be here — refueled and ready to help you! See you in September!