It IS okay to take a break.

I realised the other day that I’ve been quite quiet on here lately, not just here but other social networking sites as well. 

I’ve been busy doing things other than writing (cue gasps of horror), and all sorts of guilty feelings tapped away in my subconscious. I wasn’t fulfilling my personal goals. I was letting current and potential fans down. I wasn’t supporting my fellow writers as I should be.

Besides which, us writers know the mantra: write every day. If you want to get anywhere, write every day. If you want to improve, write every day. If you want to learn, write every day. Because, how are your dreams going to come true if you don’t write every day?
Quite simply, you’ll burn out. Like everything else, it becomes a chore when you’re having to squeeze it in around everything else most of us have to juggle.

It was a fellow writer who pointed out to me (while I was moaning that I hadn’t done any writing for ages) that it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to focus on something different. And besides which, I was still feeding my creative side, as I’ve become passionate about upcycling and home decor. I’ve always been into various crafts and other home-made things, but have recently become quite excited about this latest trend. It’s not a new phenomenon, though, as my mum tells me it was all the rage in the seventies.

More and more people are shifting away from buying expensive, mass produced items from the big department stores, preferring to pick up bargains from flea markets, garage sales, charity shops – not to mention the various different websites giving stuff away for free – and with a little love and inspiration, turning them into treasured items and giving them a new lease of life.
As such, I chose to take some leisure time and immersed myself in this old pastime, studying books and websites and blogs (Pinterest is especially great for this) and television programmes for some inspiration. Although we’ve not started a project yet, we do have some wooden boxes which my husband saved from certain death, which is going to be turned into much-needed shelving storage for our bedroom. I’ve also been doing some well-overdue sorting and rearranging in our home and feel so much more organised for it (I can’t bear clutter or disorganisation, but the writing is always put first).
Only, now that I’ve taken some time for me to do something that excites me (as well as regain some order to life), I’ve woken up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to start writing again (as well as a need to pick up that cross stitch project again).

So, next time you feel like beating yourself up for not completing your target number of hours/words for that day/week, remember that it’s okay to recharge the batteries every once in a while. 
I used to be a ‘corporate slave’ (as some would call it) and back then, I would take holidays, days off, etc, and make time for my leisure pursuits in the evenings or at the weekend like normal people do. I seem to have forgotten what an important part of life it is.

No matter how passionate you are about your writing, or getting the latest project off your desk, or starting the next one and meeting your tough personal goals, remember that it’s okay to take a break.
(Thank you Alexandria Gilbert for reminding of this and inspiring this latest blog post).


17 thoughts on “It IS okay to take a break.

  1. I don’t like the pushign myself to a word count every day as liek you state you can burn out. If i am not writing I am reading – honing my craft without even thinking about it. Some days I write nothing as life takes over. I have a job and children and famiy and other past times. Plus you take a step back and enjoy the world it informs your writing and gives new inspiration – nice to see you back on here though x

    1. Hi Sharon! It’s nice that we can recognise the need to take time out. Like you, I have a family to look after and any free time I have is always given to my writing. I love reading too, although that’s usually left for bedtime when I’m too tired and my eyes start rolling! (But is also the best quiet time I have, lol). Thanks so much for commenting. Xx

  2. Great post Fiona . It’s true of all people who work in their home environment it’s difficult to keep the two separate and easy to work all the time. I’ve followed my daughter’s example and work between certain hours and then stop until the next day although as I love blogging and book reviewing these often impinge on my weekend time if I’m at home but it’s a start. 🙂

    1. Hi Jane, I know what you mean. But reading is so much fun, and with so many of our writing buddies getting published, the TBR pile just keeps growing! It has to be one of the best ways to relax, too. Thanks for your comment, glad you’ve found a routine that works for you. Xx

  3. So true, Fiona. I took time off recently—two weeks—to recharge my batteries. I ended up on a sewing frenzy; made five cushions and a patchwork quilt. It was one of those things I pushed aside to write. We need breaks—I worked out the whole of Book 3 of my series while pinning patches together! That’s got to be good 🙂

    1. Hi Tima! Seems like there are so many of us who like needlecraft and other home-making pastimes who write as well. No matter which outlet we choose, there’s always a way to express our creative side. I’m rubbish at drawing though, and painting. Lol. Glad you took time out to recharge, too. It really does make a huge difference, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Xx

    1. Hi Tracey, I’m back now! And if you’re around I shall be cracking my whip, although it’s not easy with these school holidays.
      Ooh excited to hear you’re planning for NaNo! You’ve got me thinking about mine now, too! X

  4. So true Jane! I’m like this too and have to remind myself it’s actually better for my writing to refill the creative well. It happens between books for me now but I need to create more time for ‘life’ even when I am writing. I’m not sure how productive I am by 8 pm!

    1. Hi Jennifer! I know what you mean about productivity – my brain switches off around 6-7pm. So glad to hear you’re making time for hobbies and such-like between books. I think that was my downfall, I jumped straight into editing one novel after just finishing the second draft of another. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  5. I loved this post, Fiona – and I couldn’t agree more. I’m probably the worst person to say this as you know what my writing addiction is like, but I don’t think you do have to write every day. I think it’s massively beneficial to take time away from writing – even forcing yourself to. I think there’s nothing quite like itching to get back to the page to push your writing to its best. Have fun with the upcycling! xxx

    1. Hi Linds!
      So glad you said that – we read it everywhere about writing every day, but like you say, you need to get away, like anything else really. You can’t remain passionate about something if it’s allowed to go stale and we definitely need time to recharge. Xx

  6. This sounds absolutely like me. In November last year i was burned out completely, this year worse with the death of my mother and mother in law within 17 days. I gave up writing, that’s it. Nothing. No more, Instead i focussed on my home, crafting and decorating, and then i focussed on me – well i tried to (not easy to do). Now after 3 months i’ve started writing again, dreaming of scenes of future works. So yes, a break is necessary. Balance of life is imperative.


    1. Hello Jane, I’m so sorry to hear about your losses. A similar thing happened to me a few years ago when I lost my Dad. It was a huge blow and as a result I didn’t write for about a year. I’m so glad you were able to find peace in crafting and focusing on your home and yourself, and that’s fab that you’re writing again. Thanks so much for visiting and your comment, and good luck with those future works. Don’t forget to focus on you as well 🙂

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