Around November last year (2020), writing in any shape or form felt as though I was using a part of my brain that was completely alien to me. Not quite a slump and more of a sheer nosedive into the void, my time writing virtually vanished. However, unlike previous instances in my life where my time spent writing merely shrank to a minimum, this time it stopped completely.
As I’m sure many writers/reviewers/columnists etc will understand, sometimes you just really can’t be arsed to write. As with any creative profession or hobby, sometimes that point hits where you go, no, get that fire exit door I’m off. The space falls white, the candle goes out, more metaphors for silence and nothingness if you want to emphasis the point further, that sometimes that part of you that keeps the motor running, just stops. But, even worse than this stopping, is when it happens out of nowhere.
In the past, I’ve been able to pass off not writing as much with general procrastination, forever needing one more turn on Civilization, going to work, and while crazy to think in the current state of the COVID epidemic in the UK, socialising with my friends, at a pub! But since November as a hospitality worker, I’ve been on furlough yet again, with nothing but free time and the aspect of socialising limited to my partner, and zoom calls with friends and family (which lost the charm after the 6th quiz in lockdown #1).
Whenever I’d need one more turn, or have gone out drinking with friends, then needed the next day to recover from a deadly mid-’20s hangover, the silence on Velvet made me feel uncomfortable and at the time ‘lazy’. I just shared London artist Cha:dy’s new track, entitled ‘Lazy’ at the very early hours of today, who speaks about being called lazy due to issues with her own mental health, how the label was dismissive of her personal struggles and not a true reflection of herself and her talent. The track is a perfect chilled number that you could vibe out to in whatever mood, but Cha:dy’s openness hit a chord and started this reflection on my own mental health that you’re currently reading.
During the end of 2020, I felt like calling myself lazy was appropriate. Not only could I not find the motivation to write, but I also didn’t want to. A lazy day, turned into a lazy month and only once the dreaded end of year lists came in December, did I muster up enough of a sense of obligation to share my opinions on 2020’s music choices. And then until mid-January, silence.
At the time, I didn’t feel bothered at all about doing anything. Writing wasn’t even a thought at the time, as getting out of bed seemed altogether pointless to even begin with. I had an unforeseeable amount of time where I could do whatever I wanted, within the constraints of my home, and my response was seemingly to do nothing. I should point out, however, that I love to do ‘nothing’ occasionally, but by that I mean sit in my house and spend the entire day listening to new music or playing games, not literally doing nothing.
My partner has been working at home throughout the whole COVID situation, so the daytime felt even more like waiting for time to pass by, just so I could have a proper conversation and escape from doing nothing. His productivity has been mindblowing for someone who’s biggest task has been doing the weekly shop, so everything in comparison made me feel lazy, yet that felt fine. I’m being lazy so why wouldn’t I call myself that?
Now in my fourth continuous month of lockdown/furlough (with a previous 3 from the last one), I noted that this is the longest period of time, where I have not (a. Had a job to go out into the world to do 5/6 out of 7 days a week), or (b. Had an education to focus upon) likely since I was 11. During both periods A and B, spending my free time doing nothing instead of ‘working’ on my writing, labelled me as being lazy by family and friends, so during a period of time when a 50-hour workweek or 7-hour study day is no longer a chosen obligation, being ‘lazy’ has felt like an appropriate title.
It’s only since halfway through January, that the urge to write has come back to me, and more importantly the ease. I’m not the most prolific writer, almost all of my posts are single reviews that average 120 words, usually with about one post every day or two at my current rate. Album reviews require much more attention and that’s always felt somewhat daunting, but instead, I’ve passed that off as myself being ‘lazy’.
I’m currently in a good head-space to be writing, even multiple posts a day at this point. The desire is there and my brain feels ready to churn out reviews on a constant. For the sake of not reaching the slump/nosedive that I did at the end of 2020, I likely won’t be doing that. I’m going to give myself a break. Not from Velvet, but away from berating myself and my work output. The word ‘lazy’ and many others, carry with them too strong a sense of personality to be burdening myself with, especially when this time last year I was having nervous breakdowns due to stress from overworking.
I have apparently needed over half a year to ‘recover’ and feel excited about writing again, while also not feeling bad about giving myself time to enjoy other interests, in a period where I have no immediate obligations to anyone but myself. And I’m just coming to terms with this and now feel thankful for those ‘lazy’ days.
And for anyone reading this, know that your time is for you to do whatever you want with it. Being ‘lazy’ should not be synonymous with being unproductive, but relaxing, and allowing yourself the time you need to recharge. Whether this is a day, week, month or longer, if your passions appeared to have gone, you’re not being ‘lazy’, you need to allow yourself to recover from whatever ordeal you’re facing.