Some of you might know that I took a small trip last week, in which I could not write or edit at all. (That’s why there wasn’t a post last week.) Some people like to say that you know you’re a writer when you feel you have to write constantly. I can understand this. I get that feeling all the time, like your mind is never at rest because there are a million stories floating around inside. It felt a little odd to not be running story plots through my mind all day or have my fingers run across the keyboard like time was running out. But I want people to understand how taking breaks can also be extremely helpful! While I was distracted with other things on my trip, I found myself more focused and clear-headed when I came back to work on my projects.
Like anything else in life, breaks are important to reach your full potential! The human brain can’t work non-stop without re-energizing itself. And one way to do that is to step away from what you’re doing, like writing, and come back with a clearer head. Here is why breaks are important:
When we constantly think about something, we won’t always get our answers.
I know all of us writers do it. When we get excited about a story we’re working on, it can have a tendency to consume our every thought. When I am working on a specific story for weeks on end, the plot holes, dialogue opportunities, and every aspect of the story keep me from focusing on anything else. I lay in bed at night trying to fix plot holes instead of going to sleep. But overthinking things like this rarely gets me answers. If anything, it keeps me from thinking further outside the box like I need to. It’s when my mind is occupied with other things that the answers I’ve been looking for finally make it into the light.
By forcing ourselves to take a step back from the things that are constantly taking up brain space, we just might find our answers in the moments we least expect them. If we don’t give our mind the occasional break from writing or world-building, the answers we create for ourselves might not be the answers we need.
Keep in mind that breaks don’t have to be super long either. If you can’t figure out how to move forward with a project, maybe dealing with some writer’s block, step back from the computer for a few minutes. Grab a snack or go for a walk before returning to your desk. Do something physical to get the rest of your body pumping. Occasionally a break such as a small trip or few-day break from a project can be useful, but don’t force yourself not to write just because you want to take a break. Be strategic with them. Make them work for you, not the other way around.
I have to say; I am glad to be off break and back to writing. After taking a few days off, away from my computer and pile of notebooks, I could return with a clear head and a plan. The scenes I’ve been working on developing for weeks have been written and properly placed in the story line.
The bottom line is this. Taking breaks is important. Just don’t don’t take too many. Because then writing will never get done.
– R.E. Klinzing
P.S. Scrolling on Instagram or social media don’t count as an actual break. Just keep that in mind.