Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes a writer has to take a break

You've been slaving away for weeks on your novel, or maybe you've been keeping busy writing a few online articles every day. Or possibly you have several blogs which you try to keep updated as often as possible.

It's work, a lot of work. You can get burned out on it. But that's not what you want to happen.

What to do?

You could take a break. There's nothing wrong with that, though some writers don't like it because it halts their momentum. Some writers need to write every day to keep feeling like they are accomplishing something, to keep from feeling as if they are lettings themselves down. 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. Some writers need that daily motivation. Others don't, able to temporarily drop a project then pick it back up in a few days or weeks.

If you fear taking a break, another choice would be to shift gears and try something different, perhaps something entirely new. If you write lots of news articles online, perhaps trying your hand at poetry could help prevent any possibilities of burnout. Or if you write a lot of prose fiction, maybe you should try your hand at screenwriting. There are lots of possibilities.

The type of break you take, however, is up to you. Just keep your regular projects in the back of your mind and go ahead and change gears for a while. You might discover a new project that brings you joy that might also be lucrative. You could also find that taking a break helps to rejuvenate your mental muscles, giving you new ideas you might not have thought of otherwise.

If you are worried about taking that break from writing, realizing suffering a burnout could be worse than the break. One day you could wake up and scream "I just can't write today!" Or it could be a gradual process, your mind and spirit worn down a little more each day until you become numb and immobile, unable to type another word on your keyboard or to put pen to paper. It happens. It's scary. That's why taking a break, choosing a different path for a while, can be a good thing. It ultimately helps to keep you on track while giving the mind a little relaxation time.

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