Yesterday, I did what I know all people must do but, somehow, can rarely bring myself to actually do it: I took a break from writing. One of the hardest things to adjust to since I began to focus on writing full-time is the concept that writing is work, and, as such, you cannot work all the time or else you will burn out. I had been neglecting a lot of things around the new apartment for my writing, though, so I decided that yesterday was an apartment-fixing morning, and only took care of a few housekeeping things in my inbox here and there.
The timing was perfect, as I have today off from my part-time job and the break allowed me to refresh myself. I woke up recharged and invigorated, ready to hit the books and get shit done. The problem with doing something you love is exactly that you love to do it, so you do it quite often, perhaps too often. Taking a break is something that probably doesn’t even cross your mind that often, but it crucial to maintaining productivity and the love you feel for your craft. I’m glad I’ve finally been able to embrace a break for what it is: a chance for your brain to do something a little different so that, when the break is over, it can work better. After all, what happens to a car if it runs too long? A computer? Any other variety of machine? It starts to break down or it overheats or it begins to lag and work less efficiently. It’s best for your phone to turn it off at night, rather than just leaving it on continually, right? Same with your brain. It needs to shut down a little or else it’s likely to wear down much more quickly.
So, yes. Take that break. Indulge in it. Enjoy it. Do something completely unrelated to your work. For me, it was taking advantage of the awesome cinder block bookshelf my boyfriend cobbled together and finally sorting through all these clothes to par it down to just the ones I know I’ll wear (many trips to Goodwill in my future!). I then watched a little bit of Mysteries of the Museum and Deadly Women, guilty pleasures that also get my brain going for new stories. It was excellent, and I feel so ready to take on a productive writing day!
How do you unwind when you take a break? Do you sometimes have to remind yourself that, hey, you should probably relax a little, too? What’s your favorite thing about coming back after an effective recess?
My breaks, lately, have involved watching Murder, She Wrote. It’s GREAT entertainment, and it gets me in the mood to write my cozy mystery. It also gives me ideas on how to approach the investigation I’ll have to write. I also like to play Big Fish games on the computer, but I have to be careful with those, or I’ll spend too much time on them.
My cousin is a HUGE Murder, She Wrote fan and is constantly filling her Facebook feed with screencaps and random M,SW stuff, lol. I really should check it out. For me, it’s Team Lava games that I have to be careful with. They’re nice for little distractions, though. And don’t even get me started on Stardom…
Taking a break, especially when you’ve been writing nonstop for months, is HARD. Unfortunatly for me, it’s taken me almost a month to bounce back from my break and get in the writing groove again. I think I may have burned myself out a bit too hard, and I’m also dealing with some other stuff that’s making it difficult to find the time.
But I think recharging your batteries is a neccessity. I kind of regret not doing it earlier. Maybe if I took a weekend off every month, I wouldn’t have burned out so bad! But writing gets so *addictive* once you get in the groove of it.