Time off from writing –You’re worth it!

I hope that expression doesn’t irritate you as much as it does me. If so, I’ve lost my audience. If you’re still with me then my follow up from Time Management is the essential need to take a real break.

Writing is an intense experience and we writers are inclined to be a bit obsessive. In the last couple of years several of our breaks have been engineered around my research. We camped on the River Hamble and over Southampton Water near Calshot, both involving friends who were happy to be included. We travelled to Alderney and on to Guernsey. We went to the ‘Meet the Pilots Evening’ at the Shuttleworth Collection and watched their aircraft take off and fly above us. We stayed at a Premier Inn in Southsea and ambled along the coast passing the Palmerstone Forts. We had numerous day trips to Southampton and the surrounding area and visited Hendon too!  

Don’t get me wrong. All of these outings were most enjoyable but it made me aware of the need to get a balance in my life:

  • Keep weekends free – I am fortunate to have two days per week and sometimes during my holidays to focus on my writing and so I try not to work on my current project at weekends.
  • Have a real holiday – I aim take an occasional break when I totally switch off from both work and writing. Going to Cornwall helps. So many writers, both famous and otherwise, have based their novels on the Cornish Coast that I would be extremely foolish to try to follow in their footsteps. I know that the sequel to Rebecca has been written but it’s a risk to carry it off successfully!
  • Be myself in the evening – I have closure in the evening as soon as I start to prepare supper. I begin to switch my brain back to the reality of living, changing my persona from Diana the writer to Diana the home maker.
  • Keep in touch with friends – It’s far too easy to let friendships slide because I can’t find the time. It doesn’t take a lot to pick up the phone from time to time, send a message via Facebook or make the effort to arrange to get together.

Of course there are times when the pressure is on and rules made are rules to be broken – occasionally. What truly amazes me is that it is possible to switch off the flow of creativity like a tap and when I return to turn it back on again, the story carries on just where I left off. Does that happen to you?


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Filed under Research, Writing, Writing a novel

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