This Week In Writing, we talk about writing streaks and why letting them go is okay.
now you see, I have exactly the opposite problem. I was writing along just fine and then I took a fall. Literally. I'm 71 and I walk for exercise, and in trying NOT to turn an ankle I ended up pitching forward and hitting my chin, my nose and of course the entire front of my body. I went to the hospital, where I was examined and nothing was broken. I was in terrible pain for the next two weeks and when I was finally physically able...nothing. Nada. No ideas, no stories...no nothing. I'm fairly well healed physically but my writing muscles seem to have been adversely affected. So, I've struggled with my morning journalling (three pages every morning nothing exciting) but...like I said earlier. Nothing. I'm worried.
Your words, especially when you mentioned spending time at a beach reminded me of Anne Morrow's Lindberg's book Gift from the Sea. She said beach time works differently. She had plans to write but instead just listened to the waves and picked up shells and let the wide spaces fill her.
I took a break from writing last year when someone who needed care in my life required extra attention and I could not focus on writing at the same time. Right now though, I'm in a writing phase and I'm grateful for it. 😊
I'm actually inspired by your courage to break the streak and walk away for a reset and to get a fresh perspective. I have been experiencing this in a number of areas of my life, established "good" habits coming up for review. For me there activities around diet, exercise, creativity, meditation which provide a kind of wakefulness of spirit that is very enlivening, but even each of those, when I start doing them because I've become attached to them as a form of identity, as in, "this is what I always do," then they start to have the opposite effect. They become a kind of weight instead of a buoy to my spirit. That's what I pay attention to regarding habit streaks and knowing when it's time to take a break.
I agree with taking breaks when needed to recharge, but it's important to not let it turn into a habit. Try setting a deadline for your break and start planning your writing schedule ahead of time. How do you find a balance between taking breaks and staying disciplined?
I am blessed with a chair that gets hard after a couple of hours. D
Delighted you did the rest, renew and recharge drill. 1903 days ought to tell you something, such as beyond burnout. The right time to let go is the minute you recognize the toxic pattern of pushing something uphill. You know it's not productive. So, stop. As you found out, by letting go you opened the space for the best work to return to your brain. It can be ever other day or once a year. Results vary for each person. Writing is a joy and not a chore. When it's a chore, fercrissake, STOP and reboot that marvelous brain of yours with nature, plus sight and sounds of anything other than a computer screen. That's why the small size Moleskine and favorite pen travel with me, even to the beach.
Oh - I don't think I am nearly disciplined enough to offer tips on when to STOP writing. But I will say if you are experiencing NO joy in your writing, and no joy in the stories, poems or accounts you are generating, it's a good sign that your psyche is demanding a break, change of focus, shake-up in activity. Play music and dance to communicate non-verbally and get in the vast swathes of body that aren't activated by writing - add yoga, physical sports and martial arts. Paint, sculpt, make visual art or media. I am a lawyer by dayjob, so 'in my head' a lot! Cheers MG
Terrific blog, Justin, that's inspiring. Congrats on your streak. And on being able to leave it there!
For me it’s the exact opposite, how do I start a writing practice?
The experience you had with writing ,I had with running. One day I just had enough and decided to take a break. That break led me to other pursuits. Knowing when to take a break is equally as important as the task itself.
Yup. Things like that are possible when you jave your life and business structured to work from anywhere 😎
LOL, I just returned last week after spending 10 weeks at an AirBnB by the beach in Panama's Azuero peninsula. I didn't do as much writing while there as I had planned, but what I did was damn good if I do say so myself. Ideas flowed more easily, interesting connections happened without a lot of effort, and I was soooo relaxed. . . It was a wonderful retreat.
Yes! I generally try to take Sunday off and it's striking how much energy I have on Monday. I find that when I push it too much I start to panic a little. It's better to sit back and let the creativity cup overflow again.
Aww, thanks. I'm happy to say that I cleared my decks and yesterday I wrote FOUR pages (besides my journal) to eventually submit for critting in the writing class that I wasn't going to take but found myself enrolled in.
Congratulations! I have to get off the clock and that's when I read a great book. I feel recharged and inspired. I keep my fiction writing and non-fiction writing separate. They use different parts of my brain. However, I was bored senseless by "Wool."
I take a break, then when I come back, I write more, and better. I hate not writing, but there are times my mind and spirit demand a break