Need a Break? Follow Me!

from Jody Feldman 

Out recharging with my critique group (but not a real break).


Here’s something I struggle with.
Say I’ve worked crazy hours, as I sometimes do, to finish a first draft or a big revision. “Just one more week/just three more days/just one more day/just one more chapter,” I’ll say to myself, “and I can take a big break. I can read and watch TV and eat bonbons. I can sleep late and take field trips. I can give myself a week! Maybe two!”

The next day, though, after I’ve awakened at the same time, I’m drawn back to my computer to clean out my inbox and deal with other neglected tasks, and suddenly I’m sucked back into writing, faster than you can insert a semi-colon.

Last week, though, something may have changed that for me. I had the good fortune of taking a brainstorming workshop with Newbery Award winner Paul Fleischman at the Annual SCBWI Conference in LA. It was there, in and among the challenging and worthwhile exercises, that Paul said something which will stick with me long after the glow of the workshop has worn off.

Paul, who’s also an artist, will take the time between writing tasks to do an art project. He considers it a type of cross-training; also a chance to reconnect with the pleasures of playing. Tackling something creatively different, he intimated, will not only recharge your batteries, but it has the opportunity to send your mind to places it’s never been and might not otherwise have gone.

What I love best about this isn’t necessarily the idea of dabbling in something new. It’s the permission to take a breath, to stop writing for more than an overnight ... which is exactly what I need. 


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