Taking time out from writing – when is it a good idea?
Whether it’s by choice or whether circumstances force you to take a break, taking time out from writing can sometimes be the best thing to do.
If you have run out of ideas or inspiration eludes you or if you are just plain fed up because your writing has become stale and boring, then step away from your computer (or put down your pen) and STOP writing.
Don’t feel guilty when taking time out from writing
The usual advice to new and inexperienced writers is to write something every day irrespective of whether they feel inspired or motivated. However, there are times when this just doesn’t make sense. So don’t feel guilty if you decide to take an hour, a day, a week, a month off. When you have a break you will see things more clearly and objectively.
How long is a break?
I find that my best ideas come to me when I stop writing. It may only take a short walk or simply stepping away from my computer but I am still amazed how often some aspect of writing that I have been agonising over will become clear. Or how a new idea or new direction will suddenly pop into my head.
A break doesn’t have to be short. A weekend away or a longer trip are great ways to refresh and invigorate the mind. Writing uses brain power and just like anything else your brain deserves a break every now and then.
So, when you are out buying those ‘must-have’ shoes, having a drink with a friend, reading a book, enjoying a sport or making that long overdue trip around the UK, Europe or even further, have fun and put aside any feelings of guilt. You know you are doing the right thing and that taking time out from writing will ultimately make you a better writer. If you are not dependent on an income from writing or working to a deadline then you are free to do whatever you want whenever you want so enjoy it.
Remind yourself of why you want to write
When you are feeling a bit jaded set aside a few minutes to remind yourself of why you want to write. Is it because you have a story you really want to tell and share? Is it because you have had a life-long desire to write and now want to realise this ambition? Is writing a form of escape where you can let your imagination and memories run wild? Is it something you need to do – for example, getting the family history written that you have spent so long researching? Is it because you want to leave a legacy such as your life story for future generations? Or do you want to write for enjoyment and personal satisfaction?
Whatever has inspired you to write, don’t feel the need to do it all the time. Taking time off from writing to pursue other interests or to spend more time with family and friends will not only help you to revitalise your enthusiasm but it will also enable you to come back to your writing refreshed and even more determined.