Episode 42 – Writing After a Break

The picture is of Mariëlle’s inventive vision board, aka, her wardrobe. Isn’t it fabulous!

In this week’s episode, Mariëlle and I talk about writing after taking a break.

“I don’t know why taking time off has to be emphasized so much to writers. No other profession seems to advocate doing the same thing every day without fail, even if it kills you. Even God took a day out to rest after six days of creating, so why can’t you?” Joanna Penn.

Do you take enough breaks from writing? Or do you feel guilty for every day you don’t get to write?

In Episode 53 of Diving into Writing, Marielle and I talk about our experience of taking a break from writing and what worked for us when it was time to get back to writing.

There are benefits from a period of distance from your project. For example, it can become clear how to fix problematic issues.

An enforced break, such as due to illness, is different from a holiday? But, whatever the reason, it’s crucial to get a feel for the story again. That might involve re-reading what you’ve written and jotting down comments or observations about the whole story. After all, novels are enormous and bring together many elements, they can quickly get out of hand. One way of taking back control is to find a way to capture the whole story. 

Mariëlle’s Exercise

Taking breaks, from anything, is essential to our functioning. The trick is to be mindful of how you take them and why. What do you intend to gain from being away for a bit?

Think of the last time you took a break from your writing. Now ask yourself: Was this a conscious decision, or did it just happen? How did you feel before, during, and after your break? Was it easy or hard to get back into your writing? Was the break long enough, too short, too long? Take a few minutes to reflect on your answers.

Depending on your results, you might want to answer the following questions before taking your next break:

  1. Why do I need this break?
  2. What are my intentions for this break?
  3. When, where, and how am I going to pick up where I left once I’m back?

Should we write every day and if the answer is yes, how does that fit with the belief that we need space from our work to be objective?

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