Taking a Gap Week — The Alternative to a Whole Year
What would you do if you had a week to immerse yourself in creativity?
I am sitting at a crossroads, unsure whether I should turn right, left, or continue straight ahead in the direction I’ve been going.
The dust settles — the engine idles.
Others pass going either direction, never stopping, seemingly sure with the journey they have chosen. Some have the GPS on and the cruise control set, others go driverless, at ease because they have all the time and resources they could ever want. Some fly pants-less, on fire, but sure of the direction they want to go.
Still, I sit, afraid to step on the accelerator and commit to a direction.
11:30 PM — My Desk
I lift the lid on my MacBook Air and the screen springs to life. My first Apple product was supposed to be a celebration of the new direction my creative life was taking.
As what usually happens when I go through a particularly good cycle with no psychotic episodes, I started to add projects to my to-do list.
First a podcast — and then, since I have all this experience with editing and mastering podcasts, a new freelance niche on Upwork. After all, I need to make money.
Then the YouTube channels — two, maybe three solid ideas that could work.
Then a commitment to keep writing and publishing on Medium, even though things seem to be up in the air with Ev Williams and company. After almost three years, I’ve learned patience, and I’ve decided to wait it out. After all, I love to write, and as long as I am creating, I might as well publish.
The first order of business is to find something interesting to write about. I don’t like to touch my backlog of ideas, so I usually scroll through the Medium feed until a topic strikes my fancy.
Most of the time, I’ll find something that sounds interesting, but I’m not getting the feels in my gut, so I draft it and move on with my reading.
So much interesting stuff — #vanlife, politics, new tech, Apple news, hustle porn, pseudo-self-help, advice on how to be a millionaire, poetry, movies, Netflix, music, racism, sexism, fascism, white privilege, and so on, and so on.
Then, I found something interesting in the Medium story “I Took a Week Off. Three Years Later, I Sold to Google,” about a “week of want.”
“In a week of want, I clear as much as I can from my schedule for a whole week, and I let myself explore whatever is interesting to me.” — David Kadavy
It got me thinking — I have all these goddamn balls in the air right now, what if I just let them drop for a week and do whatever I wanted? What if I left my mind to be creative and see what happens? What is the worst that could happen if I cleared my schedule, took a week away from work, and just soaked in a hot tub of creativity until we either have soup, or I figure out that the way I was going is the right way?
That I even can afford to take a week like this shines the light on my incredible privilege, but since I am able, wouldn’t it be silly to pass up this opportunity?
I am just coming back from a short episode of psychosis, depression, and panic, and I need to take it a bit easy on myself anyway, lest I find myself rolled up in a corner of the local mental ward. I had a good patch before that and got complacent and it bit me in the ass.
What if I took a little gap week to find myself and immerse myself in books, music, movies, games, and nature? What if basked in the creative process and wrote in my journal for a week?
Could I stumble on the ONE THING I’ve been trying to find — my purpose?
Worst case, I lose a week of income — which isn’t much these days — drive my wife insane from all the attention I give her, and gain a few more pounds from all the delicious Filipino food that finds its way to my table.
After so long of eating poop in the hustle and grind, which I have been trying to extricate myself from, a short break would do me a world of good. After fighting through episode after episode, it would be nice to just quiet my mind and allow the magic creator juices to start flowing again.
How nice it would be if I could take a walk and not have everything undone on my to-do list clogging up my thought processes?
No stats, analyzing, editing, mansplaining comments, pushing, and no scrolling through social media in bed, trying to engage with my audience.
And I almost forgot — a week of normal sleep during regular sleeping hours instead of trying to stay awake on the graveyard shift. Will I want to go back to the abnormal after a week?
I almost want to just fly by the seat of my pants, with no expectations or plan for a week, even though my mind is spinning through the list of all the books I want to read and movies I want to watch.
This is not like a vacation at the beach, I want to immerse myself in everything creative and see what comes out the other end. I just want to be alone with my thoughts to see the tangents I explore and pathways my mind will guide me through.
It’s time to find out what I can imagine when I am not stressed and pulled like taffy.
2:09 AM — My Desk
My gap week starts in 4 hours — 6:00 Am on Monday, April 12th. No email, no social, no publishing, no hustling.
I am strangely excited and feel a bit tingly inside at the prospect of so much downtime and relaxation. I hope this is the thing I need to break through and get out of this creative rut. I hope I can get some clarity on what path I should take from here.
I hope I can find myself again.
If you had a gap week, what creative things would you do with it? I’ll check the comments for the next four hours.