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Smart Ways to Use a Writing Break When You Need One

Don’t feel guilty for needing a break but don’t let it go to waste either…

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

At the beginning of October, I had a difficult decision to make. Something had to give: I was getting ready to get married on Halloween and between a full-time job, tying up loose ends for the wedding and subsequent commitments, keeping my family time and writing, something had to give.

I’m not proud to say that it was writing. However, the 18 days I spent off of Medium taught me a few things about using a break in smart and helpful ways.

Maybe you’ve been feeling stressed and strained as well. It seems like writing is the most expendable option to give up at this point.

You feel burned out, stressed out, or both. You want to take a break. The first advice that I’d give is not to feel guilty. For many of us, writing is not the breadwinner. It is a hobby or side hustle and not the main way we make our income. Sometimes mental health takes precedence.

However, if taking a break, use it wisely. Don’t just jump ship and walk away completely. There are a few things that will be helpful and are still important to defining the writing life for you. This is what I did over my time off.

Use a Writing Break to Fuel Up

Fuel up by taking the time to read and record your experiences, both internal and external. Where do your ideas come from?

They can come from reading different texts, catching up on a favorite blog, podcast, youtube channel, or the saved stories on your Medium account. Take some time out for writing in your commonplace book (a book for keeping notes of texts that inspire us and we want to revisit).

Take time to still connect with your thoughts and journal. Try a different routine, experiment with an activity or hobby that you’re curious about. Take time to learn something new and jot it down. Everyday activities and experiences can make for great stories later on. Take time to cultivate that environment and put it all down for later material.

Think About What You Want Moving Forward

There are so many facets, not only of writing but everything that goes along with writing. So many other writers will tell you “x is important, y is important, z is important”. However, what do you really want to be involved with?

What social media platform are you curious about sharing your stories on? Doing 3 or more regularly is tough unless you have the ability to work full time. Which one do you really want to work with? Learn about it and commit to it each day for a set period of time.

What type of writing do you want to do? Not everyone wants to write books or ebooks. Not everyone wants to be a freelancer. Which markets of writing intrigue you and do you know you want to attempt to break into? After my break, I know that I want to work on my own blog, Medium, and try to break into magazine writing. However, if what type of writing you want to do is not clear, there is no solid direction to head into. Take time to figure out where you want to go.

What do you want to write about? Whether you decide to niche or not, it’s still something that you should consider. What are you tired of writing about? What do you want to try to experiment with? What do you want to create, whether broad or narrow? Also, do you want to try a different method of conveying information like doing short videos or recording your voice for clips or podcasts?

Analyze what has worked for you in the past and what hasn’t. This is an individual question but think about where you’ve been putting your efforts and what patterns you’ve seen emerge. What publications yield the biggest results for you? What publishing consistency? The answer to these questions will help as you begin to contemplate the future and what you want to do next.

Take the time to get your game plan for the next six months to a year together. Set concrete goals on what you want and begin to work at them daily when you get back.

Take the Time to Read About the Craft

Take time to read through a craft book or two. Consider how to apply the lessons you’re learning. Take notes and do any exercises mentioned. Study your past writing through what you’re learning. Practice things like writing stronger headlines, leads or evaluating what sounds too clunky. Each of these practices will make your writing stronger moving forward.

The Most Important Element of the Break

When you decide to take a writing break, set a deadline for when you’re due to begin working again. With our day jobs, we don’t tell our bosses “I’m going to take some time off, I don’t know when I’ll be back. Keep my spot open for me okay?”

Writing is the same way. Deciding to take a break is allowing ourselves to sit on the backburner while others are publishing daily. The longer we take that break, the longer we sit out the game, and the harder it’ll be to get back in the game.

Setting a definite date that you’re due back in the chair counteracts that. You know exactly when your time is up. You begin to get back into the writer’s form towards the end. Stick to the date or earlier, but no later than the date. Get back into the flow as soon as possible.

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Rachella Angel Page

Rachella Angel Page

1K Followers

Writer, wife, lifelong learner. I write about personal development, emotional wellness, relationships and lifestyle. rachellaangelpage@yahoo.com