Writing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Pace yourself and take your time.
I’ve touched upon this a little before, but it’s probably one of the most important parts of the writing process other than the actual writing itself. Yes, you read that right. Down time can help your writing almost as much as spending all day in front of your laptop.
Now, I’m not talking about going a couple of months without doing any writing at all; but a day or two break can go a long way in replenishing your creativity and motivation to write. You know the saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? Well, that rings especially true for writing. Constant working without taking any time off can cause your work to become stagnant and boring.
Why You Need to Take Breaks
If you don’t allow yourself some time for occasional breaks from your writing, don’t be surprised if it starts becoming harder to produce anything worthwhile. I don’t know about you, but I find that if I write for too long at a time—especially if nothing really good is coming of it—I get super frustrated and everything starts going downhill from there. If you keep trying to force the writing when it’s not coming organically, you might find yourself developing a case of the dreaded, writer’s block.
But just because you take a break doesn’t mean you can’t be productive in terms of your writing. There are quite a few things you can do during these breaks to keep the creativity flowing and make the writing process easier once you start back at it again.
Here are Some Ways to Make the Most of Your Breaks
If I’m having a real hard time trying to figure something out or come up with ideas, I like to take a nap and relax for a bit. I find this is the fastest way to give your brain a break before getting back to work.
I’m also a big fan of watching TV or reading when I take my breaks. This helps get my creative juices flowing while I’m relaxing. This is more of an active rest for your brain. You’re still coming up with ideas and being creative, but you’re using another medium to do the heavy lifting for your brain.
Now. this one is a bit more controversial. Some writers find the consumption of alcohol and other mind altering substances help their writing. But by no means should you feel like you have to do that. There are plenty of stories where that scenario doesn’t pan out for the author. I only bring it up because some people find one drink can take the edge off and help them focus on the work at hand. But studies have shown too much alcohol has the opposite effect. So, write in excess, drink in moderation.
Exercise is also a great option for taking active breaks. Many studies have shown exercise to increase brain function and creative productivity. Author Steven Kotler has written some incredible work on the correlation between exercise and mental flow states. For a better and more entertaining breakdown, check out the video below from his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.
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