Give Yourself a Break

The other day a friend commented that she was having to force herself to read her current book.  But it wasn’t for a class or bookclub.  It wasn’t for research/  It was something she was reading for fun.

Really?  It didn’t sound like fun.

My advice?  Back away from the book and give yourself a break.  That is something we need to remember both in our reading and in our writing.

Sometimes I will push myself through when I am reading a book that I feel like I have to read.  Sometimes it is for bookclub.  Other times it is a book that is good for me – a tough topic but something that I believe I should know more about.

Last week, I was reading one of those books – a good for me book.  Ugh.  I was learning a lot but it was such a tough slog.  It felt like every chapter was weighing me down and this book is a monster at 600 pages.  I just couldn’t do it.  Some books require more energy than others to read and it is okay to put a book aside for another time.  Give yourself a break.  So I picked up The Golden Thread. The only problem now is that I have a deadline and I would much rather be reading.

Lately a group of writing friends and I have also been finalizing coronavirus essays to submit.  I had three.  I picked out two markets and realized that I can only send a single piece to each.  I was going to have to leave one of them sitting here on my desk.

I started with my favorite piece.  I tweaked and nudged and smoothed it out . . . and realized that it just doesn’t hang together.  So I went over it again.  And again.

Then I realized that I have two other pieces left.  I can let this piece sit.  Some pieces just take longer to come together.  And it is okay to give yourself a break and put something aside until you’ve had time to process it.

We are living in interesting times.  If for no other reason, we sometimes need to remember to give ourselves a break.  Back away from that book, whether you are writing it or reading it.  Try something else for a while.  It is okay.  Really.