Sometimes we all need to have a break from the routines we have set ourselves. Those routines have been put in place to ensure that we get things done, that we write, that we are able to tell our stories. But, on occasion we need to take a step back from these and reassess.
I haven’t written since Thursday. Yesterday, instead of sitting down to my daily writing routine I took the day off to have afternoon tea with my sister, do a bit of shopping and then have a drink with a friend. It was relaxing, different and refreshing to get away from the house and have a day where I did not switch on my laptop at all.
Today I had planned to get back to it. I thought the time away would do me well and I could come back with avengence. Not so. My mind has different ideas. My thoughts are wandering and everytime I think of my characters even they encourage me to distraction and I end up wandering away – to walk in the park, to do the washing, to tidy the room. I’m a whole week behind my schedule to complete the rewrite of That which is left is lost, and I find myself shrugging my shoulders: what difference will one more day make?
We do all need a break sometimes. However, the key is to make sure that these breaks are not wasted time, otherwise I end up feeling guilty and dissatisfied with the lack of tangible evidence that defines these breaks. I’m a goal-oriented person: I need to see progress or development to feel I have acheived something everyday. It doesn’t really matter how small those goals are, just so long as they’re there.
So today I’m going to ease myself back in gently. Aim to complete one chapter and find success in this. I have plenty of other things to keep me busy: cleaning, walking the dog, supermarkets….but I know if I concentrate too much on all of these things and neglect my writing entirely by the time tomorrow comes around I won’t feel pleased with my weekend. Even worse will be the feeling on Tuesday when I have to sit down to my writing again, only to find that I’ve lost my thread and I am so far behind.
Small steps. Not too much pressure. And an acknowledgement that we all need time to breathe now and again.
How do you get back to your writing routines after your time off? How do you know when you need some time away from your writing?
Let me know in comments. Or, Tweet Me.