This month we are talking about breaks in our writing life. Writing doesn't get a winter break or a summer vacation. And sometimes, writers even have to work on holidays to finish by an editor's deadline. So we have to create those breaks for ourselves. We have to be disciplined in creating our writing schedules, and just as disciplined in allowing for breaks. I have discovered that I need down time between manuscripts. I give myself that time to allow the WIP I have just finished to breathe before I work on revisions. I also need a break before beginning a new manuscript. That gives my imagination a chance to dream about a new story, new characters and a new setting. Even when we aren't writing words on a page, our minds are working through story plots and dialogue. Amazingly, my best writing comes to me when I am not actively writing. I also use down time to read other people's books, to become inspired by their words and stories. I stack the books next to my desk, and when I am finished with a manuscript and it's been emailed to my agent, that's my reward (along with lots of chocolate). It's also the best time to start a new writing notebook. To jot down character names and snippets of dialogue or titles that invoke a new emotion. I keep it with me all the time. Because every writer needs some time to imagine.