As authors the pressure can be enormous. There is the constant feeling of having to write faster, market more, network with other authors, etc. So I think it can be really hard to take a break a from it all. Especially when you are self-published and everything falls on you. But taking a break is necessary especially if you want to continue to be creative and write good books. I’m a big believer that the best creativity comes from a combination of practice and silence. I find that creativity comes when you are being mindful and your mind is silent. As a busy person this can seem like a impossible tasks which is why its important to take a break from time to time.
When should you take a break?
Everyone is different when it comes to knowing when it may be time to step back. For me I know its time to take a break when I start moving slow. As in the words are coming slow I’m starting to feel tired and overall uninspired. With any career there is drudgery you have to go through. But when it feels like the drudgery has been going on too long it might be time to take a step back. Sometimes you can only push your creativity so much before you burn out. Listen to you body. Some signs that it might be time to take a break could be procrastination, tiredness, unable to focus and lack of motivation. Watch out for these signs and recognize when a break a needed.
How long should I take a break?
That depends on you and how long its been since you’ve taken a break. And I don’t mean a couple days away from your manuscript I mean a real break. Like a week or more. I know personally once I started to feel like I needed a break I tried to think back to when the last time it was I took a break. Embarrassing enough it had been almost a year since I’d taken more than a couple days away from writing. And its not that I’m burning myself out its just that I love writing and I have made it into a habit. When something is a habit its hard to step away from it. I decided to just step away for a week. I feel like for me that is enough time to really get that itch to write again. But maybe you need longer than that. Maybe you just finished a really big project and you need a month to recuperate. That is fine I just suggest having a date that you committee to going back. Sort of like taking a vacation. Schedule your time off.
What about my business/writing?
I know you don’t believe this. I do. But everything can survive without you. I know as a authorpreneur it can feel like if you take time away everything will fall out from the bottom. But it won’t. Especially if you have been working hard on your business/writing for so much time. If you are really concerned automate your social media posts, schedule your blog posts, etc. That way you can feel like you are still moving forward without having to get on your platforms. As for writing I know for me I have this small fear that if I don’t get my characters down on paper they’ll disappear. It’s crazy, I know. So the way I combat this is if there is a scene that is really speaking to me but I am taking a break I will write it down on paper. For some reason the act of physically writing it is much more relaxing than typing it up on a screen. Its kind of cheating but I think it helps me to relax instead of worrying during the entire break.
How do I take a break
This might sound funny but I didn’t really know how to take a break…If you haven’t listened to Shonda Rhimes TED Talk I highly suggest it. I can identify with her when she said “I don’t like playing I work all the time because I like working.” This is so true for people who are passionate about their careers. So I think asking how to take a break is important. One thing I highly suggest is deleting the social media from your phone. Social media is a crucial part of being a author and if you are truly taking a break you need to delete your social media apps. Stop writing…at least not on your computer. When I have the urge to write sometimes I think to myself; I’m not allowed to write right now but I can think about my story all that I want to. And if were being honest when I eventually go back to write. The words that come out are so much better because I’ve had a week to think about them. If your email is a issue for you create a out of office reply that can automatically be send to people. I had to unsubscribe from writing podcasts that I loved because every time I would listen to one I would get anxious about the fact that I wasn’t doing anything, that I wasn’t moving forward, etc. In summary do what you need to do to focus on other area’s of your life.
I hope this posts helps you if you thinking about taking a break from writing. I know it can be tough but it is completely necessary to fill your creative well. When we are caught up in the “book world” it can look like everyone is writing a book but in reality they aren’t. Most people do not write a book and you have already done amazing things.