Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Should You Take a Writing Break and Go Out For Pizza Instead?

photo courtesy pixabay.com
"If my writing comes to a halt, I head to the shops; I find them very inspirational. And if I get into real trouble with my plot, I go out for a pizza with my husband." --Sophie Kinsella

I feel Ms. Kinsella's pain. I'm at about the half way mark in my first draft and it's time to go out for pizza! I see where I am at this point in my story, where I have come from, and where I need to be. I just don't know at the moment how I'm going to get there.

So I'm going to heed the advice of others* and take a short break. I'm going to give this story time to rest, breathe, and percolate on its own for a while. I'm going to change things around a bit, stir the imagination, try to reignite some creativity.

And it's okay. Although we writers often fear taking a break--we're afraid we'll lose momentum, confidence, a sense of commitment--a break is often just what we, and our stories, need.

I will get back to my WIP. I promise. I can't leave my characters in limbo too much longer. But at the moment, pizza sounds pretty good!

Where do you like to go or what do you like to do when you're stumped and need to distance yourself from a writing project for a spell?

*Helpful articles on why taking a writing break can be beneficial, and what to do with that time:
Improve Your Writing: Step Away From the Desk, Megan Kaplon
5 Reasons You should Stop Writing, K.M. Weiland
Step Away from the Keyboard: How Our Hands Affect Our Brains, Nancy Darling
Taking a Break From Technology is Sometimes Necessary, Jeff Goins
Why Writers Need to Take a Break Sometimes, Emily Wenstrom
Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important, Shivana Deo


  1. I'm in favor of those breaks. Sometimes it's taking a walk. Sometimes it's switching to another WIP that seems to be working and then coming back later to the troublesome one. I have a troublesome one I keep taking breaks from, and have for about 10 years. In the meantime, each time I come back to it, I have a better sense of what it needs and the characters have more depth for me. And, in the meantime, I've written other books and finished them. So I believe in the benefits of taking breaks.

  2. I too love those breaks. They recharge me, wash away my first draft fatigue and I return energized and ready to get back into my writing.

  3. Taking a walk is helpful. In summer, I just walk around the yard, look at my flowers, clip off the dead ones, etc. Another thing that works for me is reading. If I'm writing a ghost story, as I am now, I read ghost stories. They put me in the mood for being "creepy."

  4. Breaks are necessary, for sure. My go-to for a mental break is my scrapbooking room. If we have the time and money for a short vacation, that is even more refreshing.

  5. Pizza does sound good - haven't had that in awhile. Now I'll be craving it! I like to take walks or long drives with no radio on and that usually lets my mind relax enough to get my imagination going again. I hope you enjoy your break!

  6. Thanks, friends, for your contributions :-) Walks, switching to another project, reading, scrapbooking, taking a quiet drive--all are good uses of time when we have to step away from our work for a while. They help us reconnect and return to the job with new energy and perspective. Appreciate your input!

  7. Hope this weekend gave you some super recharge!

  8. Hi, supermom, and yes--the weekend gave me a great recharge, how about you? Our conference get-away was just what I needed for inspiration and re-energized batteries :-) So glad we went!