A Re-inventing the Wheel Piece of Writing Advice: Take a Break

Sharon’s note: I re-invent the wheel a lot. You’ll hear a lot of good advice out there, and it doesn’t do a lick of good if you don’t internalize it. You’ll never understand an idea until it’s your idea. I’m putting this out there in the hopes that it’ll help someone, because they are at the right time in their life to need and hear it. Warning: Writer is still technically supposed to be taking a break while writing this, but insists it doesn’t count.

Because of my condition, I really have to watch my physical energy levels. It sucks, but so is life. What I forget to do is look after my mental well being from time to time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to write. I actually get a little depressed if I don’t write for too long. Something to remember though, writing is like any other form of exercise. Sometimes you need to switch things up so you don’t get overly tired, and sometimes you need a little break.

I once wrote for eight hours straight. Not breaks except to use the bathroom and refill my water. I even ate at my computer. I made A LOT of progress, but when my husband came home he thought I was having a MS relapse because I was acting a little disoriented and looked like I’d been hit on the head with a hammer.

I did my own personal novel in a month challenge, just to see if I could. 67,000 words in 31 days. I did it, but I was brain fried afterwards. I didn’t put another word on paper for like three weeks.

In both those cases I pushed myself mentally, but because it was a conscious effort, I remembered to take a break afterwards.

I do a lot of writing. A lot of it is for the blog, but also side projects. I have one novel I’m doing heavy edits on, while also working on the sequel (I don’t know if this is the greatest idea, but it appears to be working for me, so I’m doing it), plus a few assorted other little creative projects. 

At the start of this week I sat down at my computer and just didn’t want to write. It wasn’t writer’s block, I had ideas, I just didn’t want to. I spent a grueling hour making myself write about a hundred words, then I gave up. I was off of work that day, so I took a nap. Then I read some of a book I’d been meaning to. Then I spent a few useless hours playing a fiddly but brainless little computer game while listening to a steampunk opera (I highly recommend Paul Shapera). 

I felt worlds better, which made me realize something. Even last time I’d taken a vacation, I hadn’t stopped writing. It had been months since I had spent a day without doing some kind of writing related activity.

So I took the week off. I played video games I hadn’t played in a while. I found new shows to watch. I read new books. I listened to highly lyrical music, which I can’t do while writing. I took the time to absorb other people’s stories without having to work on my own. And you know what? I feel great.

Because I took a little time to let the well of inspiration refill, I am ready to hit the keyboard with renewed zeal and fresh ideas. 

Moral of the story:  It’s okay to take a break if you need it. Just remember that a break means resting, not quitting.

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