I’m prolific. At one level, it seems like bragging to say that. But the reality is that I am.
So far this year I’ve written 2 nonfiction books for teens, 2 for older elementary students and rewritten three of these with comments from my editors. I’ve reworked two nonfiction picture books for the retreat and am reworking them again. And we’ve cleaned out my dad’s house. As if the emotional journey there wasn’t hard enough, the air conditioner went out during what may have been one of the hottest weeks of the year. And we’re talking Midwest hot. Not Seattle hot. Sorry Seattle.
Oddly enough even with rewrites to do, my last few weeks haven’t been particularly productive. Simply put, I need a break. So I took a vacation. We spent almost a week in Tennessee with my in-laws. By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way back most likely somewhere in Illinois.
Creativity takes a lot of energy. It’s easy to forget that because we aren’t physically lifting heavy loads. Instead we do it intellectually and emotionally. It is important to take time to regroup. I did a great job of this early in the year but later when the deadlines started coming I fell into old, bad habits.
Don’t be me. Be smarter. Here are 5 tips to help you out.
- Take breaks throughout the day. When you freelance, it is easy to be on the job all day long. Don’t do that. Get up from your desk for five minutes every half hour. Weed the garden. Stretch. Get the laundry from your basement laundry room.
- Schedule your day. When you start your work day, start with what has to get done. Your blog post for tomorrow. The new chapter intro your editor wants this afternoon. Then plan when to end your work day. Once that time arrives, do something other than work.
- Screen free time. If you work on-screen, you need to spend time off-screen. That includes your phone. Sundays are my screen free day.
- Have another creative outlet. I’m not sure why doing something other than writing that is creative recharges me, but it does. I’m currently crocheting a llama. My husband doesn’t get it either. Maybe your creative thing is cooking. Or decorating. Or gardening.
- Schedule fun. This might be a weekend trip to the Art Museum. Or a week with family. Or a hike. Put these things on the calendar so you don’t ignore them.
Writing is difficult enough. Give yourself what you need to have the energy to write.