How to ensure your breaks don’t become blocks #2: Plan it, damn it!
It’s day one of your holidays! Ahhhh. You sleep in. (Or do your equivalent.) You deserve this.
You get up leisurely, even with the kids in tow. You shuffle around in your slippers, have a cuppa and your favourite brekky then pat the cat. Stare out the window for a while.
You jump outta bed. It’s time to collect the turkey, put up the tree, buy presents, clean up the house.
Either way, after an hour or two you realise that you were going to start each and every holi-day with ten minutes, one hour, a morning, of writing. Damn, you’ve failed. Again.
Nah, you haven’t. You can always begin again.
Better still – plan to take a couple of days to just do what you need/want/have to do, and then re-establish a routine. Better, better still – create a realistic, doable routine that can always be scaled if you want to.
Make a start by brainstorming: what do I want from these holidays?
Then highlight the top three to five that you’ll ‘simply die’ if you don’t get to do.
Continue by looking at your break and allocating time and space for your favourites.
Reflect on your favourites and the time and the space. When’s the best time to do them? (Maybe that’s the only time to do them?) What needs to go? What can you add? Who can help you meet your desires this holidays? What might get in your way? How might you work around this?
Write this down. Doodle it. Draw it. Bring it close to your awareness by pulling it out of your head and onto a page.
Then, do it. Give yourself a few days to trial the routine to see if it suits you. If it doesn’t – change it, or just flop about instead. There is so much value in flopping about.
But there’s good evidence to suggest that we respond well to routine. When I surveyed my Facebook writer friends, those who actually take a break from the writing like to read, meditate, exercise, make (other) art and listen to podcasts. These activities keep their creativity flowing, while they’re enjoying a break from their daily writing tasks.
Finally, here’s a hot tip!
Before you switch off for the year completely, note where you’re up to with each project. On your return, you’ll dive back in and immerse with vigour.
If that doesn’t suit you, tune in next week: How to ensure your breaks don’t become blocks #3: don’t stop!
May your words pour onto the page,
Photograph by Alina Golovachenko.