A Writer’s Day Off – What Are the Benefits?

I write every day. For hours, I sit at my computer, cranking out pages for work in progress or planning my next book. If I am unable to fit writing into my day I can get discouraged and even anxious. Writing is more than my chosen occupation, it is my passion.

But every writer needs a break now and then, and I took a day off last week. Some friends of mine were going on a cook’s tour. I love to cook so I signed up for the tour and it was marvelous.

Famous writers know when they need a break. Neal Justin writes about Garrison Keillor’s plans in a Minneapolis “Star-Tribune” article, “Keillor is Taking a Break from his Weekly Column.” After writing his column for five years straight, Keillor is taking a hiatus to finish a screen play and start a novel. No information was available on whether or not Keillor would return to his column.

According to a Writinghood website article, “Sometimes a Writer has to Take a Break,” we need to call time out to avoid burnout. But some writers are afraid to take a break because they think they may lose momentum, the article notes. “The big fear here is that a break of one day will lead to a break of two days, which eventually could lead to a break of a week or a month or forever.”

The kind of break you take is important. I chose a one-day break, yet my writer’s mind was on alert, and the break had significant benefits. First, I was able to savor fall in Minnesota. The hills were a riot of color, a collage of pink maples, golden birches, and red oaks. The changing colors were more than stunning; they fueled my soul.

Writers need to be good listeners and I listened carefully to the conversation on the bus and during lunch. One person, originally from New York state, said people didn’t understand her slang and used the word “titch” as an example. Originally from Long Island, new York, I didn’t understand “titch” either. As I listened to conversation I filed forgotten and new words in my mind.

New writing ideas came to mind on the trip. Some women talked about the difficulties of coping with kids’ schedules. Others talked about the poor quality of meat and produce in local markets. And others talked about volunteerism and how it seems to be diminishing. Each of these topics could be an article or a key point in a book.

Taking a day off from writing revived my energy. Social interaction, seeing new things, smelling new smells, as in the spice shop, got my creative juices flowing. If you haven’t had a break from writing in a while, I urge you to do it. Taking care of your physical and mental health is as important as taking care of your creativeness. So I’m going to “play hookey” more often. Taking a day off helped me get back to work.

copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson

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Source by Harriet Hodgson

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