Ever take a break and realize just as it ends that it was exactly what you needed? That's how I felt last night about my creative spring break. I still worked on the art I was obligated to do, and I still wrote (a lot) at work, because that's my job, but other than that, I took it easy. I think some great things came from it. Here's some stuff that happened in the past week or so.
-I did the Cooper River Bridge Run. It was fun, as always, to run with 40,000 other people. They were pretty unorganized this year and the race started a full hour late. My feet hurt before I even started running. But that's okay, I still had a great time and the weather was nice.
-I beat Mass Effect 3. I thought about writing a blog about it, but enough has been said about that whole ordeal. I didn't think the ending was that bad, certainly not worth starting a petition or filing a claim with the BBB. I'm not going to remember the ME series for its final 10 lackluster minutes, but for the hours and hours of enjoyment I got from its rich universe and exciting fiction. Years from now, even the haters will look back on the Mass Effect series and see it as a landmark achievement for video game narrative. I can't wait to play it again.
-I rooted my old Droid Eris and then paired a PS3 controller to it for some emulator action. I didn't actually get to the emulator part, but it's ready for that should I choose to pursue it. I always wanted to try rooting my phone, but I was nervous I would screw something up. Now that it's just sitting in a drawer, I figured it couldn't hurt. Turns out rooting is easy, once you sift through all the message boards, wayward download links and jargon-filled developer comments.
-I tried out theBlueStacksbeta. It's a bit laggy at times, but still really neat. I played some phone games using my mouse and keyboard and got to try out Posebook on a much bigger screen.
-I got an idea for an online story/etsy shop. Brooke's been telling me I should open one for a while, but I wasn't sure what I'd actually sell. I found a niche I could fill over the break. Still not sure if/when I'll open the store—gotta find some time for that.
-Way back in 2006 I started an online novel. One chapter a week, for about four or five weeks. It was called "Stranger Things". If you've followed me online for that long, you might remember it. I took it down after a few people told me I should make a go at turning it into a full novel. I did that, but eventually puttered out--that was long before I discoveredhow to build a story. Inspiration struck me during my run last weekend and I think I'm going to resurrect Stranger Things after I finish my current book, "The Unfortunate Wishes of Matthew Watson". I'm going to start from scratch, but some of the themes, characters and ideas from that original book will be in there. I love this stage of the writing process. When every idea feels like it could be the best thing ever and little bits of dialog and scenes flash into my mind.
-I came up with a new work schedule for freelance projects and art/writing development. Since having Parker I was kind of just working when I could, and it wasn't efficient, for me or the family. I've discovered that life with a baby works best when it's heavily scheduled. Babies respond well to routines after about three months. Everything gets slotted into a predetermined space—laundry, cleaning, freelance, lawn work, TV time, etc. It can be tough to adjust to if you're not crazy about routines, but it frees up the brain space you'd normally use trying to figure out "when am I going to get this done?"
-Best of all, I spent some quality time with my wife, son and puppy. On that note, you should watch the documentary Being Elmo on Netflix. It's an endearing, inspiring little movie about the man behind the famous red puppet.
Definitely a good break. My creative battery has been recharged and I'm ready to get back to it. If you create for living or for a hobby, you should definitely look into taking one. Stop being a creator for a bit, just relax and consume someone else's creations (read a book, watch a movie, play a game). It's good for you.