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Why Taking A Break From Writing is Good For You

Writing is a creative venture. Even when you write non-fiction you have to be creative, coming up with the right words or writing about something complicated so that a layman can read it. Being creative most of the time can really take it out of you and it would do you good to take a break. During the last few months of 2020 I was feeling strained, like I'd lost where I wanted to go. So over Christmas (the perfect time) I decided to take a break from all writing and I decided it's been a good thing and wanted to share my thoughts with you.



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Why Take A Break?


Some might say taking a break could hamper your efforts, particularly if you're trying to establish a routine, but I'd say if you're forcing your writing it's going to suffer either way. You can lose your objectivity when you're staring at the same work day after day. The story gets stuck in your head, you can't see a way around a hiccup, and you get disheartened.






Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity. 

G.K. Chesterton






Taking a break, even if it's just to go outside for a walk, could open up your mind and let you critique your own work with a fresh view. I've experienced this recently. Like I said, I took a break over the Christmas period and coming back to my work I can see I'm focussing on the wrong things and know where I need to go to sort out the story.




You're Still Writing


Stepping away from the creation doesn't mean thinking about writing stops. You can think, brainstorm, and come up with new ideas, it's the actual writing you're taking a break from. I have found that I often think better when I'm taking a break, I'm less obsessed with the story and thinking more about other things when a new idea or a twist on a current idea will hit me and I'll be enthusiastic again. 




Why Taking A Break Is Good For You


Go for a walk, wander through your local park, let the wind blow through your hair and breathe in the fresh air. It's amazing what a walk can do for your creativity. But a walk doesn't just help with the creativity, it can help with your character's too. Listen to other people when you're out and about, pay attention to how they talk to one another - it's a good way to check if your character's conversations are forced. When checking through your work you could notice that your characters sound robotic or too formal.



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People watching can also help with character development. Seeing how people act when they're with friends, or arguing with their partner, can aid your writing. From body language to spotting interesting looking people, it's all useful stuff.




Don't Stop Reading


As creators we all know how important it is to read. Take time to enjoy other people's writing and pay attention to how they capture your attention - or if they fail to. Take note of any methods they use to keep your attention, like fast paced paragraphs or cliff hanger endings. Try to work out how they make you care for the characters, and if you don't care about the characters - why not? You can learn a lot when reading books, and it certainly helps with your own writing.



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I have spent a long while reading John Locke books lately but when I finished the series I moved on to Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer. I loved the Twilight Saga and was looking forward to reading but Stephanie Meyer's writing is very different when compared to John Locke, and the difference has helped me with my own writing. It's inspiring and motivating. 




When NOT To Take A Break


I read an article recently that spoke about taking a break from writing and expressed the same sentiments, well for the most part. One thing that stuck out was that when you're trying to establish a routine of writing daily you shouldn't be taking a break, you should concentrate on the routine - even if it's difficult.






Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop, and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to.

Stephen King






So for now, in the words of Lindsey Carson over on The Writing Co-operative I'm going "to be consistent and maintain" from now on.

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