Recently a fellow writer tweeted that she just didn’t feel like getting more queries together or polishing her work-in-progress. What she felt like doing was taking a break. What would the rest of us advise her?
My advice to her? Pause to recharge. Take the time you need to be ready to write. This doesn’t mean filling every moment with prewriting (research, outlining, etc.) unless that’s how you recharge. What it means it taking a break when that’s what you need to do.
This is hard to do and perhaps even harder to justify in our society since we are all perpetually graded on just how busy we are. “You hosted Thanksgiving? Pfft. I hosted and attended two others and did half my holiday shopping.” “Is that all? I’ve already got me try up and we’ve decorated cookies with the extended family…”
Step back and step out of the competition. Take the pause that you need to take. Recharge your creative batteries.
How you recharge is going to be completely unique to you. It might mean sleeping in or having a spa day. Perhaps you’d prefer to hike or stroll the paths at a local garden. Even in, or perhaps I should say especially in, winter, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places. Some writers read to recharge. Others love to watch movies or binge-watch television. Among the writers I know are cooks, beaders, quilters, knitters, and weavers. We draw, paint, and garden.
Making time to recharge can be hard to do when you work from home because you never leave work behind. Why not squeeze in one more page? One more deadline? And it doesn’t help when you have external pressure to work these extended hours.
But that makes it especially important that you take time off. It may take a few tries to convince yourself and those in your work life that this is necessary but that’s okay. Just repeat after me. “I’ll get to this asap but this weekend/evening is booked.”