Know When to Take a Break

Do you ever have one of those überweeks where you're busily accomplishing ALL THE THINGS? I had one of those this week. You run out, tackle the world in a bear hug, give it a noogie, and let it know that THIS week... THIS WEEK RIGHT HERE is the one where you kick some serious booty.

And then...


You do.


On a high from accomplishing the big THING, you decide that you're unstoppable and pour all your energy into the next THING. If getting one done is good, then getting two done feels incredible, right???

Kind of.

In my day job as an author, I don't think I've ever had a week where I turned in two books, but this week I had one. I was on a high from checking off lists and finding some really good stuff in the projects I was working on. Why, I could do this all weekend, too... Just dive into the next book and write a plot and make a synopsis and find cover images to send to my publisher...


My brain went on strike.

So, as it turns out... I'm not the bionic woman after all. (Dang it.)

Much as I wanted to dig into my book and get messy with another hero and heroine, I had to face facts: I needed a break from writing books and crafting characters. (See: the drawing above. That's Stranger Things 2 on the TV screen, by the way.) 

Creativity thrives in empty spaces. Snatches of time where there's nothing going on. Maybe you're staring at a wall, or lying in bed, or showering. (How many solutions have you arrived at while washing your hair?!) Those mindless tasks allow the muse to wake up and whisper sweet nothings into your ear.

At the stage I was in with both books, the creativity was done. No more blank page or dreaded blinking cursor. All I had to do was read and make sure that plot A slid into slot B, and that I didn't change a character's name mid-book. (Spoiler: I did. I had to fix that.)

All that analyzing and overanalyzing resulted in my coming to a literal wheezing stall sometime around Friday afternoon. I was curled on the love seat, my brain the consistency of mashed potatoes. Even going out to dinner with friends that night felt surreal. (You mean I DON'T have to write everyone's dialog at the table??)

Yep. I'd been in my head too much. 

Time to switch gears and do some tactile stuff. I'm going to write this blog (check!), clean up my desk + drawers, do a little housework, unroll my neglected yoga mat, and write a grocery list.

Sometimes you have to stop the GO, GO, GO! in order to pause and refill the tank. We're not Energizer bunnies, we're human beings. So if you have a kick-ass week, smile and pat yourself on the back. And then, for the sake of your future creativity and sanity...

Take the break you earned.