Still, I know it’s important for a writer to take breaks. Your mind needs quiet time to reflect on works in progress. It needs to meet new people, explore new places, and have new experiences in order to fuel your imagination. Sometimes, your brain needs to do nothing but listen to the breeze skitter through the leaves. It needs to rest. These pauses are the sorbet that refresh your palate between courses. They are essential. But how can I fit them into my whirlwind of a writing life? How about you? Maybe you don’t write for a living, but what if you’re holding down a full-time job and writing in your spare time? How are you supposed to recharge when you can barely grab an hour here and there to tap those keys in the first place? The pressure is on. Sit butt in chair. Write! Now!
It’s taken me a little while to figure out how to juggle it all; how to accomplish what must get done, continue my lifelong love affair with writing, and still retain my sanity. My secret is taking what I call Me Moments – short breaks that help me reflect, rest, and recharge. They can last for a half hour up to a weekend and there are only three rules:
1. I have to be in the moment, which is what originally sparked the name. This might mean taking a few hours away to watch a movie, going on a day-long photo safari with my husband, making a quick trip to the bookstore, or simply crocheting while I listen to music. If I’m taking a walk, I give myself leeway to mull over what I am writing, but not for the whole outing. The goal is to focus on the thing that is providing my much-needed pause from writing, not ignore it.
2. It has to be something I want to do, not something I have to do. I like puttering in the garden, and doing things like planting flowers or painting a garden bench. But I hate weeding, so that little chore doesn't count as a Me Moment.
3. I am to take a Me Moment every day. I confess, this is the one rule I fracture more than any other. Sometimes, I can get so busy that by the time I look up from my work, it's well past seven o'clock in the evening. I make excuses but the truth is I know better. I can always find a half hour in my day to work out, relax with a book, or have tea with a friend. Work should not be all consuming, even if it is my dream job. Once a month, I take a full day away from writing. What do I do? Anything I want. Or nothing at all.
Also, I try to take several extended breaks during the summer. My husband is a high school photography teacher (and I enjoy photography as a hobby), so I arrange for a light schedule in July so we can spend time together and travel. We’ll take day-trips or long weekends to shoot pictures of landscapes or wildlife. You never know what delightful surprises await when you set out on an adventure . . .
|Photo by Bill Trueit (c) 2012|
Speaking of which, while I’ve been writing this blog post, I’ve also been swapping text messages with a librarian for a school visit, printing off mailing labels to send promotional books to contest winners, and on the phone holding for HP tech support (it’s been 22 minutes and I am seriously beginning to doubt whether my call is truly important to them). Oh, and the roof is leaking. I have a feeling today’s Me Moment is going to involve a hot bubble bath and a lot of chocolate . . .
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Trudi Trueit writes the Secrets of a Lab Rat series and a bunch of nonfiction for children. Check out the trailer for her newest tween title, Stealing Popular (Aladdin MIX) and visit her website at www.truditrueit.com