Writing is very taxing. You may just be sitting at a desk and typing on a keyboard, but the mental stamina it takes to consistently produce quality pieces of work is incredibly high. Therefore, it’s important that you take regular breaks throughout the day.
The Value of Short Breaks
“Sometimes we get so caught up in our writing or we want to finish a writing project quickly that we forget that simply powering through can affect the quality of our work,” blogger Shivana Deo notes. “Taking a break allows us to come back to our work with a clear mind and a new perspective. This is important because it also allows us to critique our own writing by bringing a fresh view to our work.”
The key is to make sure a short break doesn’t turn into an extended break. Try taking a short 10-minute break every couple of hours, and at least one longer break (30 to 60 minutes) in the middle of the day.
Four Tips for Constructive Breaks
The worst thing you can do during a break is flip on the TV or fall asleep. Your breaks need to be constructive. Here are a few ideas:
- Get Some Exercise
Exercise is especially important for people in sedentary jobs. Hint: That’s you, as a writer. Since you don’t get much movement during the workday, you need to invest in exercise outside of work.
You probably don’t have time to get dressed, drive to the gym, and work out in the middle of the day. Fortunately, there are other options. With just a couple of purchases, you can create your own home gym. All you need are a set of quality adjustable dumbbells and some sort of cardio machine. Both of these items can fit in the corner of a bedroom, or even a garage, and give you the ability to conduct short workouts during the day.
- Go Outside
If you’re cooped up inside all day, going outside can do wonders for your mood. Not only does the fresh air wake up your senses, but the exposure to natural sunlight is good for your skin and attitude. Take a short walk around the neighborhood and then get back to work. You’ll notice a nice little jolt in productivity after the walk.
- Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Remember, you don’t want to turn into a couch potato during your break. The goal is to keep your brain active, while simultaneously shifting your attention away from writing. Some writers successfully do this by completing logic puzzles, working on puzzles, or even painting. These creative outlets will give you a new perspective and ultimately enhance your creative writing skills for the rest of the day.
- Do Something Menial
Short breaks are a great time to take care of household chores and menial tasks that you otherwise put off. During a break, you’re happy to be doing just about anything other than writing. During your downtime, the last thing you want to do is unload the dishwasher or fold the laundry. Why not do these chores during your break, then? You get to take your mind off writing, while also crossing things off your to-do list. It’s beneficial in all respects.
It’s Okay to Stop Writing!
It’s easy to feel guilty about taking a break, but you have to understand that your mind and body need short breaks for proper functioning. Make sure you’re consciously setting aside a few minutes every couple of hours. Not only will you feel better, but your writing may become better too.