Giving yourself a break!

I had a post in mind for this months Insecure Writer’s Support Group post… But then I got slammed with feeling sick, overwhelmed, and on buses that wanted to run late.

So instead I write this, on my phone while waiting to get home after a long day (and briefly edit before heading to work the next morning).

When I get home I plan to curl up and go to bed, I’ve been dreaming about it all day.  Because I  am drained, completely and thoroughly.
It really should be no surprise. I “won” NaNoWriMo this month, while working full time with a long commute, still keeping up on this blog and other projects, AND I cooked and prepared meals for much of a two-day Thanksgiving extravaganza, and the rest of the month wasn’t exactly low-key on the social scale. I should be tired.

And yet, I feel guilty for not planning to write tonight. For not writing much at all since the 26th.

I have to remind myself (and I am sure I’m not the only one needing this reminder), that we need to give ourselves breaks. Sometimes life overwhelms, and we then need to step back and give ourselves room to breath.  It doesn’t make one any less of a writer to not write for a short while – we need to take time to rest, and that’s okay. You know, sometimes it’s even okay to decide to watch some tv, rather than read a book – just another form of storytelling.

Pushing ourselves to far without a break can be detrimental. It can cause those insecurities to flare up and take control because we are weakened.  Just like a body pushed beyond its limit with not sleeping as well as you should, or not eating properly, can make you more vulnerable to illness, pushing yourself with your work too much (a little pushing is important) can make you more likely to start over-criticizing and questioning your ability and the worth of your art.

Writing is a draining activity – even in those amazing moments of story creation you are using a lot of energy and effort. So be sure to take the time to allow yourselves to refuel.

Sometimes it is okay to let yourself take a break. Sometimes it is even necessary.


Also, exciting news!  The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has a new book out!  For free (through most sites).  Check it out for all sorts of great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond!


This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a IWSG badgegreat group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.  

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23 thoughts on “Giving yourself a break!”

  1. Great words of wisdom. Taking a break is so important. Congratulations on your NaNoWriMo win. I took a break this year after three consecutive ‘wins’ that are still at the firstdraft-toberevised stage… one day they will become something.

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  2. Good points. I always fight against missing days of writing, but often times after a few days busy with something else I find that while the first day back seems difficult, by day two I’m glad the break had happened. I usually have a burst of fresh ideas coming from the things I did or the places I went that seemingly had nothing to do with writing.

    I think of Hemingway fishing, Theodore Roosevelt walking and politicking, etc. Yet still I do have this fear that the world will be blown up in a fiery ball of flames before I get my books out there! Lol.

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  3. This is a good reminder, because I’m much the same–even though I’ve been going non-stop for ages and need a breather, I feel guilty for not doing more, not getting something written or edited, not doing something. Our brains need a break to be creative!

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    1. The guilt is killer! And the fear that I’m going to somehow find myself no longer able to write when I need to… but without that breather it is very hard for the brain to be creative — I agree!

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  4. Yikes. What a month for you. Yes, take a break. Even when I’m not typing regularly, my mind keeps thinking about stories, characters, and plot, so even when I’m not working, my writer’s mind isn’t completely dormant. In fact, some of my best scenes pop up when I’m away from the desk.

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    1. That’s been one of the strangest adjustments for me in the past few months — I haven’t had characters running around in my head. I think I’ve been too focused on certain pieces and that’s stifled some of those ideas. Another place taking a break will help — giving room to allow the ideas to run amuck again!

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  5. Sounds like you’ve had a hectic month, Allison.
    Working full time, a long commute, blogging, other projects, Thanksgiving PLUS NaNo? That’s a lot!
    You’ve earned a break. Definitely.
    Happy IWSG day!

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    1. It is a lot…. I have to remind myself of that!! But I set these goals for December too, you see…and some of them HAVE TO HAPPEN. But, yes, I need to give myself a little break — allow the creative brain to get up and running again 🙂

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  6. So true! I used to beat myself up about the “fooling around” I did, but eventually I realized I needed to have fun now and then. No one can be productive 24/7 without burning out.

    Congrats on winning NaNo! It’s a huge accomplishment.

    (J.H. Moncrieff)

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  7. Thank you for this reminder! We do need to be easy on ourselves and give ourselves a break when we need it!

    And congratulations on all you accomplished in November. You totally deserve a break!

    -Jen

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    1. I think one of the challenges comes in when you have a “regular job” (also cringe at such a thing), so the vacations and holidays from that are great times for writing…but then you never have a break from everything. Balance, balance, balance.

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