Writer’s block plagues all writers at some point. We have all known the struggle to start a story, compose the right plot, finish the final paragraph, end the chapter. It can send many writers into a spiral of stuttered starts and anguished stops.
In my last post, I discussed how to begin writing again after experiencing these inevitable and frustrating gaps in writing. I want to discuss, in this article, why these break—when scheduled—are also useful and necessary.
Many writers labor to write under the constraint of working another job or raising children. It means that often little time is spent composing pages of perfectly written prose. Therefore, most writers can’t imagine how taking a break could possibly improve their writing.
It’s important to emphasize, however, that scheduling a purposeful break from writing is much different than discontinuing writing for long periods due to internal or external obstacles.
Taking a deliberate break from writing functions antithetically to stopping writing due to outside obstructions. When a writer is forced to stop composing due to writer’s block, other commitments, or internal conflict, the cessation in writing can lead to frustration, discouragement, and the possibility of quitting.
When a writer chooses to take a break, the pause in writing can lead to enhanced creativity, revitalization of work, and a renewed sense of passion and drive.
The following reasons outline why temporarily stopping serves several important purposes to all writers.
Gives Your Brain A Break—Any writer who spends every day trying to craft the perfect plot or create the most poetic prose will eventually suffer the exhaustion of it. Time spent away allows your mind a moment to relax, rest and recharge.
Reconnects You With Life—Temporarily disconnecting from writing allows a writer to reconnect with life—a time to enjoy activities separate from your writing. After all, it is life experience that lends to fascinating stories and textured characters.
Re-ignites Your Creativity—Taking a moment to separate from your writing, relax your mind, and reengage in other activities will ignite your creativity. Soon you will find that your canoe trip with a friend, or the neighborhood potluck has plotlines forming and characters developing with little effort.
Allows Your Work To Marinate Inside Your Mind—A break gives your brain a chance to mull over, ruminate about, and think through your story without the stress of deadlines or the pressure to perfect every line. A pause gives you a quiet moment to reflect without judgment, giving you a clearer sense of direction.
Gives You The Chance To Fall In Love Again—Familiarity breeds contempt and sometimes distance does make the heart grow fonder. Excusing the clichés, there is still wisdom in these trite platitudes. Time away from writing will help you to miss what is now a current frustration. Space gives you the opportunity to remember the reasons why you love to write. And these reasons will enable you to be an even better writer once you begin again.
Fresh Eyes See Unseen Mistakes—Being too engrossed in your work can cause you to overlook what is right before your eyes. Sometimes the sentence we hear in our head is not the one we’ve written on paper. Time away gives you a fresh perspective so that when you write again, you are given a new start and a means to see more clearly.
Breaking from writing can be unsettling, but taking a purposeful break from writing is empowering. Just remember to schedule the break, set limits, and use your time wisely so that when you begin again, you are not only a re-energized writer but also a better one.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.