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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Refilling the Well by Annette Dashofy

My friend, Gigi Pandian, mentioned a while back that she has learned to take one day a week off from writing. I used to do that too, knowing the importance of refilling the well. But when Gigi wrote about it, I started thinking…when was the last time I took a real day off? Oh, I’ve taken a few half days. I would write in the morning and then spend the afternoon watching TV with my husband. But a full day? And somewhere “out?”

 It has to have been almost a year. I mean seriously. Where would we go? Out to eat or see a movie? Not happening. No visiting family or friends either. Last summer, we’d go for a drive and find a place to take a walk. But not far away. And if there was a crowd, we’d turn around and head home.

 It’s been a long year.

 And a long winter. I’ve started to feel the strain.

So I declared last Sunday a mental health day. Fishing season is almost here (which means I won’t see much of my husband on weekends), and he wanted to scout out the river and creeks where he’ll be casting flies. Off we went.

 After a two-hour drive to the Laurel Highlands, I placed a takeout lunch order on my phone. We ate in the parking lot. Then we headed into the wilderness.





I totally understand why my husband loves it here. I’m tempted to come with him and just sit on the bank and read.

 And then we came across this.


There’s a story there. My husband and I started making one up as we strolled back to the car. Neither of us knows the person memorialized by that cross, but we can imagine what he was like.

 And that’s the point of a mental health day. Refilling the well. Finding inspiration for new stories or clearing the cobwebs to better focus on the ones in progress.

 Fellow writers, do you take time away from your pages to refill the well? Dear readers, have you ever stumbled across something that made you wonder about the story behind it? Please share.

16 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Lovely! I refill the well every morning during our two mile dog walk. Same route, but notice different flowers and buds emerging every day. Mallard ducks and Canada geese, plus all the nesting birds.

Kait said...

Oh, Annette, the scenery is beautiful! Gigi’s blog post resonated with me. I’ve also begun taking mental health days to replenish the well. I didn’t realize how important they are until the first day back at the desk!

Annette said...

Margaret, connecting with nature and its cycles is revitalizing.

Kait, I hope Gigi knows how many of us she influenced with her words!

And I'm taking another mental health day today (a reward for meeting my page goals.) Not sure I'll get outside because it's POURING, but if I'm stuck curling up with a book, I'm good with that too.

Susan said...

Nature never works for me, alas, because I have allergies. People are my nature, and now that I and my friends can meet in person,my writing has flourished. But I do envy you being able to go outside and explore.

Annette said...

Susan, I sympathize since I battle my own allergy demons. Glad you're able to reconnect with your friends now!

J.C. Kenney said...

Lovely photos, Annette! I remember when I first started writing, my mentor was clear that I should write every day. I followed that mantra for a while, but over time I learned the value in taking time away from the keyboard. These days, I plan for one day off per week. It feels good to "get away" and give the writing brain a rest. Cheers!

Jim Jackson said...

Nice. I'm doing the same thing right now, having gone up to our place in the UP for a long weekend. Just a touch of work, but mostly walking for hours looking for moose sheds. Didn't find any, but saw lots of signs: prints, scat, tree rubs, browse. Great weekend. About to head back.

Annette said...

J.C., we must have had the same mentor! Or they both went to the same "school."

Safe travels, Jim.

Mary Garrett said...

What a beautiful place! I, like Susan, have to limit my time outdoors, and decontaminate afterward, but it's refreshing . . . the colors! the sunsets! My cousin looked at the view of the little strip of wooded common ground and exclaimed, "Perfect. You can watch nature from inside!" and I do. I had the builder add an extra window in the bedroom, the better to see the little pond.
Mixed metaphor, but may that river refill your well. <3

Tammy Euliano said...

What a terrific post! I'm refilling my well at Park City this week, taking in some views and testing out the new knee on the slopes. So far so good, though it points out why I need to get the other one done. Hopefully when I Return, my well will be full to overflowing.

Annette said...

Mary, how nice that you have a view of the great outdoors without having to deal with the allergens!

Tammy, good luck with the new knee AND the refilled well.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

When I finish a project, I take a few weeks off to read other people's books.

Annette said...

Debra, I always intend to do that, but these days, I'm juggling several projects at once so there is no "finish." One just slides into the next.

Grace Topping said...

My favorite spot to relax--next to running water. Perfect.

Molly MacRae said...

That's an excellent tip, Annette. If I weren't behind on the current deadline, I'd follow it. But next time, barring real life intervening . . . I live in hope.

Annette said...

Grace, there's definitely something to be said for the sound of water, be it running or lapping at a beach.

Molly, I hear you. I tend to overlook the whole refilling-the-well thing when deadlines loom. And I always say I'm going to plan better next time. We shall see.