I know how it is. It’s a three-day weekend. You get caught up in the barbecues, the family time, the sunshine, the sales at the mall… and whatever else. You sleep in and soak it up.
Then Tuesday morning comes, you drag yourself out of bed, and as you sip that cup of coffee you realize, oh man, you haven’t even thought about that manuscript for an entire three days.
If you’re like me, what you feel next is a huge rush of guilt—how could you be such a slacker? But the truth is, I need to just chill out a little (and so do the rest of you writing workaholics).
When you’re squeezing your passion projects like fiction writing in around the rest of your life, a holiday weekend feels like it should be used to bust booty on those non-work projects. And sure, if the mood strikes you, go ahead and do it. But the truth is, a genuine vacation from all your projects can do brain some good.
Here are three reasons why you should take a break:
1. Fend Off Burnout
We’ve all felt it before. When you’re go-go-go all the time, shifting from one project to the next, it wears you down. At first it may feel exhilarating to knock out your to-dos and see the word count add up. But soon, you start losing focus. You feel tired. After a while, you stop enjoying your writing time at all, because it’s just too much. By taking breaks, you can stop and even prevent the burnout cycle.
2. New Perspective
You know those infamous moments of brilliance in the shower? Those happen because in the shower, your brain engages in what is called passive thinking. In short, that means your brain keeps chewing on a problem in new ways when you stop trying to force it. So the key to fixing that plot point you’re stuck on could just be to stop trying to fix it.
3. Refreshed Mind
When you stop working, you get the rest your body and brain so badly need. Nothing helps you hit the reset button like some solid sleep, so go ahead and sleep in just this once. It’s really very nourishing.
Stop Working, Hit the Reset Button
There’s just no getting around it—sometimes the very best thing for your brain is to stop working it so hard.
A holiday weekend gives us a perfect time to pause and refresh, so don’t come back tomorrow feeling guilty for the lost productivity.
Instead, take a deep breath, notice how good and refreshed you feel, and let that power you as you get back down to business.
How about you? When you take a break from writing, what do you do? Let us know in the comments.
No really, step away from the keyboard. For today’s practice, share something fun you’ve done this weekend in the comments. And don’t forget to support other readers by responding to their comments too!
By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.