Taking a Break Part 2 by Carol Harrison

“It’s very refreshing to go away and take a break, to clear your head and just get into something else.” Francois Nars

There have been many moments of wishing I could escape for a short writing retreat at a lake, maybe even just a few days away to relax. But that isn’t always possible in our schedules or within our budget. Yet we can still take a break from our writing to be refreshed and refueled.

I researched some ideas and thought of what a break means to me and came up with a few things to help jump start something that might work as a break in your routines and help enhance the writing process at the same time.

  1. People watch. Have you even sat in a coffee shop, park, or the food court at a mall and watched people? What can you learn from their body language, bits of conversation you happen to overhear, or how they dress, move, and interact with others? This time of observation gives you a break from writing but helps you gain ideas for character development.
  2. Read. We hear this all the time. Writers need to be readers as well. I love to read and a break in any routine with a good book is appreciated. But it also helps give ideas for dialogue, expands our vocabulary, and allows us to learn about different writing styles.
  3. Exercise or being active in some way. Not only is this good for our physical health, it can be a good time to brainstorm ideas.
  4. Eat. We can’t think or focus on an empty stomach. Taking a break to prepare a meal or snack and enjoying it will refuel the body and clear the mind as well.
  5. Watch a movie or TV show. There are times I push this idea away as frivolous, a waste of time. Yet it gives a different perspective on how others have portrayed their characters and developed the story as well as an opportunity to simply relax.
  6. Creative activity – What types of creative activities do you enjoy other than writing? Taking time to enjoy drawing, painting, sewing, quilting, paper crafting, crocheting, etc. gives your mind and body a chance to connect and learn balance in a different way than writing. It can also get your creativity going which will spill over into your writing. For me, I have begun making junk journals which are hand made books using recycled material and scrapbook supplies. After working on these, I am able to focus more easily on writing projects. Sometimes the other creativity winds its way into your story. In my book Memory Making Moments, the friends learn how to make junk journals.
  7. Connecting with others. We are not meant to live in isolation. Taking a break from our schedule, our work, our writing to connect with friends and family is essential to our mental health and emotional well-being. God designed us as social creatures and even the shyest among us still need connection. I love gathering with friends and sharing life together. It can be a time to share the struggles and joys, have fun and laugh.

Mark Twain is attributed with this quote, “Write what you know.” In order to know things we need to take time to learn them and then how to share those in an interesting way with others. Take a break. Enjoy the day and friends. Be refreshed, rested, and recharged so you can refocus on the writing waiting for you. Make your own list of things that will allow you to learn, grow, and rest too.

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