If you subscribe to as many writing websites as I do, you’re probably constantly bombarded by the same advice: Just write, write every day, push through writer’s block, don’t wait for inspiration, etc. And while that’s all great advice, and most of the time very necessary to follow, there’s something to be said for taking a break.
Writing is a lot like using your smartphone. You have to make sure you have enough battery to do what needs to be done. Let’s pretend for a second that your brainpower is like your smartphone battery.
If you’re fully charged, you’re feeling great and ready to go! Inspiration’s hitting you all over the place, your fingers are flying, and you could write for hours if you had all the time in the world. You can hardly remember what writer’s block is and can’t understand what in the world was holding you back just a few days ago.
You’re still going strong, but you can’t help but glance at the corner of the screen every few minutes. You’re going to have to recharge soon. And depending on what you’re using your battery for, you might have to plug in sooner rather than later.
For example, if you’re watching Netflix on your smartphone, your battery might last a total of three hours rather than, say, four or five if you were texting or checking Facebook. The more brainpower you’re using on your writing and editing, the quicker you’re going to get tired.
Uh oh, this is your brain’s way of warning you to plug in as soon as possible. If you dismiss the notification and keep writing anyway, you run the risk of shutting down. The best thing you could do right now, is finish up what you’re doing and step back. Plug in, do something relaxing, and let your batteries recharge.
If you didn’t take a break after your brain started to get tired, you’re going to shut down. It’ll be a struggle to type even one word, your fingers will feel about five pounds heavier, and eventually you’ll just stop. You’ll shut down.
Now you have no choice but to recharge, but it’s going to take a while to get back to full power. It might take a week to feel productive again when, if you had plugged in earlier, it would’ve only taken a few hours or a day.
Taking a break
While you shouldn’t use it as an excuse for every little frozen screen, it’s good to take a break every once in a while. If your brain is telling you to stop and recharge, listen to it.
Read a book, watch some TV, go for a walk, do something relaxing and away from your computer screen.
When you come back, you’ll be 100% and ready to continue.
How do you recharge your creative batteries? Share in the comments section?
Today I want you to take a break. Do something you enjoy, whether it be outside or inside, then sit back down and write for fifteen minutes. If you want, share your practice in the comments. Be sure to give your fellow writers some advice, too!