You need to take a break from writing now and then. Many authors recommend taking a break when you know what you’re going to write next. That prevents you from returning to a blank page and finding yourself immediately stuck. Sounds like a good plan. Now what about those breaks? There are good breaks and bad breaks.
Some breaks are necessary. You must eat. You must sleep. You must go to your day job. You have other musts. I hope your life isn’t too musty.
Breaks That Don’t Work
Hobbies, TV, video games, and the internet are the worst breaks. They can use up all of your free time. If you need one of these kind of breaks, you should take it after your writing is done for the day.
There are other breaks that aren’t as time consuming: e-mail, bookkeeping, phone calls, to-do lists, and other things that can be done as often as you like. They don’t need your immediate attention. They could be put off. They’re excuses to do something else for a while. Something easier. Why not do something easier that leads back to writing?
Breaks That Work
Other writing can be a break. Switch between books and articles. Switch between fiction and non-fiction. Switch between first drafts and revisions.
Doing nothing or taking a nap. You’re going to think about what you’ve been writing. Some errands fall into this category. I think about my writing while grocery shopping. I either have a list or I’m only interested in half price sales. My thoughts can be elsewhere.
Reading material that inspires you to continue writing. Books and articles about writing can be great for inspiring you to get right back to writing.
Reading books in the genre you’re writing are good too. If you’re writing a page-turner type of novel, reading a page-turner can be inspirational. How does the author decide where to end their chapters?
Doing something unpleasant. Haruki Murakami has his characters doing housework for procrastination. That would certainly make me anxious to get back to writing.
Break’s over. I must get back to writing my novel.
Article by Ivan Izo.