How to ensure your breaks don’t become blocks #3: Don’t stop!
Are you a, ‘I’ll die if I stop’ kinda writer? Maybe you’re a writer who doesn’t know how to stop? Perhaps you worry that if you did stop, you’d never start again …
When I surveyed some writerly friends to ask how they make sure that their breaks don’t become blocks, one approach came up that surprised me. ‘Don’t stop!’ they cried.
Yet there seems to be a healthy version of not stopping and a fearful version of not stopping. When you read the following, what do you think?
I write everyday regardless. I don’t take long breaks.
I never take a break ... I’m always writing & reading & daydreaming & thinking & playing with ideas ... it’s just such a natural way of life for me. And deadlines always looming. I need to always feel I’m moving forward else they begin to overshadow my life.
Desperate for a break. It's taken almost 3 weeks to calm the fuck down... :) and start to enjoy the break and not feel overwhelmed by 'all the domestics to do'... Fully intending, aside from a little light moderating of a research project website, to do nothing til Jan 22 – have made this very clear to supervisors and anyone who wants me to do any work.
I tend to keep working until burnout. Then I can't even turn computer on at all for weeks! I'm not a good role model. Trying to learn moderation. But I always come back to it.
Yeah I can’t stop. It’s a mind disease... maybe just keep reading if you don’t have time to write? Reading a chapter a day of – something – is usually doable. Otherwise just enjoy switching off your brain!
Yet as a counter point, here’s possibly the very best reason to take a break…
I find a break allows the subconscious or whatever it is at the back of the mind to do some sorting. That means that I return refreshed, often revitalised. Though sometimes it has meant that I realised the work I was doing wasn't the right work, that it should be something else. But that's important too!
Of course, there are as many approaches to writing as there are writers. Whether or not you stop, it’s important to know that you can always begin again. The creative self is always there, sometimes a bit hidden in among the rest of life, but always there, ready and waiting for you to tap it. To tap it as often as you want to, get to know yourself and understand something about ‘flow’.
If the sound of ‘not stopping’ makes you tired, check out ways to plan it, damn it!
May your words pour onto the page,
Photo by Alina Golovachenko