How to Take a “Productive” Break from Writing


If you’re a writer, you know how hard it is to explain your “process” to people who aren’t writers. Writing isn’t just about coming up with a story and splashing it all onto a page in one sitting. Even art and creativity take months, sometimes years of work. No matter how much you might love what you do, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sometimes leave you feeling drained and exhausted.

Every once in awhile you need a break. Even if you’re afraid you won’t be able to start up again, it’s often inevitable. Your brain needs rest. Especially when you’ve just recently finished a big project and can barely remember your own name (who am I again?).

Here’s how to take a break from writing AND stay productive while still giving your brain time to piece itself back together again.

Read that book you’ve been staring at for three months

Most experts agree: all writers should read things written by other writers. And you might love reading possibly even more than you love writing, but it’s not easy to balance writing your own story while simultaneously reading someone else’s.

While you’re on your writing break, take advantage of the time and space and pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. This will help you continue to think creatively while you’re not actually writing. Plus, you’ll get to read a great story or two, which can inspire you to do more than just write.

Stalk a few authors on Twitter

Don’t take this the wrong way, but successful writers are interesting people, right? But you’re probably not constantly online following what they’re up to (unless it’s John Green, obviously) because you have your own life to worry about. You can learn a lot from authors, though. Like what’s going on in the publishing industry, who’s working on a new book, how they handle the tough stuff.

Inspiration comes in many forms, and sometimes just paying attention to your “industry leaders” is exactly what you need during your break. Especially if you’re taking a break because you’re feeling a little burnt out and hopeless (it happens). These people can do it! So can you.

Channel your creativity into something different

You aren’t just a writer: you are a creator. Writing might be your primary way of channeling that creativity into something constructive, but even that needs a rest every once in awhile. When it’s time to take a break from writing, you can step away from the computer without having to shut down your creative cycle completely.

Take this time to do something you’ve never done before, or haven’t done in a long time. Launch yourself out of your comfort zone. Paint a picture. Sing! Dance! Organize your books in reverse alphabetical order instead of by author or genre. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just do something to remind yourself creativity comes in many forms. Remind yourself to appreciate other forms of art and expression, even if writing is still your outlet of choice.

Taking a short writing break won’t hurt you. In fact, you might find that when you do come back to writing after a few days or even a few weeks, you’ll feel more motivated to get going than you ever have before.

Want to continue developing your skills during your writing hiatus? Here are a few more things you can do.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

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