|Photo credit: Tom Wicker on Flickr|
Truth be told, sometimes we’re a little too hard on ourselves.
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but even writers deserve breaks every once in a while. The key is knowing when the right time to take a short hiatus is.
Here are a few signs that you deserve a break:
- You just finished a draft of your WIP. One of the absolute best times to take a break is between drafts—not only do you deserve to rest after working hard to complete a draft, but you need time to develop some distance to your work so that you can edit it more efficiently later. Win-win.
- You’ve been working on your WIP non-stop for a long time and now you feel stuck. What a “long time” is depends on you, but sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to distract yourself with something unrelated to your work. This is also known as taking a break.
- You’re tired of your WIP. Now, when I say tired of your WIP, I don’t mean that you’re in the middle of your novel and the shiny new novel glamour has worn off—that bit is pretty near inevitable. What I mean instead, is that you’ve lost the excitement, the love for your WIP. You dread sitting down to write and quite frankly, you’re not really sure you even want to finish this WIP. When that happens, sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from your WIP and take a break. This doesn’t mean forever, but it does mean you might need to distract yourself with some non-WIP goodies to recuperate.
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for a break, you now face a new dilemma: what to do? Remember that the point of this whole taking a break thing is to actually take a break. Put that WIP away and try some of these things:
- Read ALL the books. Ok, maybe not all the books, but now’s a great time to catch up on that growing to-be-read list (you do have a TBR list, don’t you? Of course you do). Reading isn’t optional for serious writers, and as a bonus, it’s a pretty enjoyable way to spend some free time.
- Spend time with your friends and family. Chances are they haven’t seen quite as much of you as they might like—after all, you’ve been busy working on that book of yours. Now you have time to catch up with friends and sit down with your family, so use it!
- Do something you enjoy (other than writing). Watch a movie. Play ridiculous hours of Assassin’s Creed. Bake. Catch up on your Hulu queue. Whatever it is you really like to do, make sure that you spend time to rewarding yourself with it. You deserve it (seriously).
- Get some fresh air. This works particularly well when the weather is nice, but we writers have a tendency of spending a lot of time on the computer and very little time doing outdoorsy things—I’ll be the first to admit this is something I succumb to quite often. But fresh air is good for you. I promise.
Sometimes taking a break is all you need to jump-start your inspiration and writing, and sometimes it’s just a nice little luxury that we deprive ourselves of too often. Whatever the case, make sure you reward yourself with a hiatus every once in a while—then get back to work.
What do you like to do when you’re on a writing hiatus?