We hear a lot about how to make time for writing but not as much about how to take time from writing. Whether writing is your profession or your hobby, it’s not your whole life. Stick to a schedule that builds in time for various other activities.
Among the good reasons to take a break:
- Remind yourself that if you don’t get up from your computer, not only won’t you make valuable memories with family and friends but you also will simply burn out faster as a writer.
- Physical activity is critical, so periodically stop writing and start moving. Sitting is the new smoking – not good for you to do 24/7. Physical activity also feeds your brain and nourishes your creativity. Oxygen!
- Life experiences are what informs your work; if you don’t get out into the world and keep experiencing, you’ll run out of topics to write about.
So many things make up a well-rounded and well-purposed life. The tasks alone—childcare, cleaning, shopping, cooking, tending to your car, preparing taxes, answering personal email—obviously need time and attention. Then you also benefit from activities such as reading, traveling, visiting friends, listening to music, going out to dinner, seeing a movie, watching a little TV, local sightseeing—the list really is endless, and let’s not forget that we all should be getting roughly eight hours of sleep each night.
You can limit your daily hours, the days of the week or both. Perhaps ban writing on weekends or set a policy of no-writing-Wednesdays. If you are writing on the side and have a full-time job, this whole situation is more difficult, but it’s still a good idea not to wear yourself out. Maybe you’re getting up an hour earlier every day to write or writing every night after dinner. Still establish limits. One morning you sleep that hour, one night you binge a favorite TV show or you always stop writing by midnight.
Coming back to your computer refreshed after a short break helps you stay sharp. Remember that it’s just a little time away; it’s not a new pattern of not writing at all. Still stay engaged and on track!