Apr 14, 2014

Posted by in On Writing | 1 Comment

#AtoZChallenge – L is for Lazy

I shouldn’t even say the word. LAZY! Laziness! Eeek!

Are other writers as beset by this as I am?

My partners both deny this, saying that I am the least lazy person they know. But they don’t see me in bed between 6:30-7:30, laying there playing Candy Crush and Words with Friends on my phone. I should be getting up and doing yoga, or writing this article, or taking the dog for a run, or doing laundry or starting my work day or writing erotica…

But I’m not. I’m playing Candy Crush, or Words with Friends, or putzing around on Facebook or Twitter and checking personal email.

But I’ve come to a realization and an acceptance of this morning routine: I’ve decided that I need a certain amount of “off time,” of time that I can totally and completely fuck off and not do what I’m “supposed” to be doing.

I’ve instituted “lazy time.”

I allow myself (supposedly without guilt, but obviously I still have some!) this time in the morning as Free Time. Lazy Time. Time for me. Daily, scheduled, downtime. (I also have a twenty minute break in the middle of the day for this.) I don’t know if it does any good for my writing, or my ability to function effectively throughout my day. And…I don’t care (or try not to.) I like to think it gives my brain time to charge up and get ready for the day, and to give it a break in the afternoon to recharge. And it appears I’m not alone in this thinking. According to this Scientific American article,

In making an argument for the necessity of mental downtime, we can now add an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence to intuition and anecdote. Why giving our brains a break now and then is so important has become increasingly clear in a diverse collection of new studies investigating: the habits of office workers and the daily routines of extraordinary musicians and athletes; the benefits of vacation, meditation and time spent in parks, gardens and other peaceful outdoor spaces; and how napping, unwinding while awake and perhaps the mere act of blinking can sharpen the mind. What research to date also clarifies, however, is that even when we are relaxing or daydreaming, the brain does not really slow down or stop working. Rather—just as a dazzling array of molecular, genetic and physiological processes occur primarily or even exclusively when we sleep at night—many important mental processes seem to require what we call downtime and other forms of rest during the day. Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.

Do you allow yourself downtime? Do you allow yourself to indulge in a lazy moment occasionally? Or maybe you have lazy time built into your schedule, like I do.

I think downtime is essential for the creative mind. Much like “filling the well” of creativity, downtime gives your brain a chance to rest and breathe, and make space for creativity to happen in.

So I say – call me lazy. I’m a person for it! (I hope. Now let me get back to Candy Crushing.)


  1. I do not see myself as a lazy person, as I am always busy, but I do allow myself down time. Also playing games or just lazying on the couch. I don’t think you are lazy either :)

    Rebel xox
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