Monday, 30 April 2012

Z is for Zzzzz

We did it! It's the last day of the A-Z Challenge, and my series "26 Things that Made Me a Writer". Ready to collapse?

Well, that's what this post is about: the importance as a writer of taking a break now and again. Putting your feet up. Getting those Z's in. I'm on holiday right now, hopefully, as you read this, doing exactly that (my long-suffering wife will attest to my snoring problem).

We can all get frustrated while writing. Run down a likely-looking alley only to find it ends in a brick wall. Jump off that plane before realising you've no parachute. In other words, you thought you were getting somewhere but maybe your ingenious idea isn't seeming so good. Or you could just be out of inspiration.

Walk away, if only for a couple of days. Indulge in another of your favourite pastimes, such as watching a movie, or take the kids to the beach. Try to put all thoughts of your WIP out of your mind. When you're immersed in writing every day, focussed on meeting those daily word counts, you sometimes can't see the wood for the trees. (And you get tired and end up slipping in cliches like that one!) If you remove yourself for a while, you might just find that the right way forward comes to you of its own volition. Even if you're not stuck, a pre-planned holiday is a good opportunity to take stock.

The end of a first draft is also a great time to take a break. It could be what spurs you on to get to the finish.

I've certainly found that time away has helped me think about how to address problems in my writing. How about you?

And what about your plans post-Challenge? A well-earned rest, or are you straight back to business?

NB: As I mentioned, I'm currently on holiday until May 13th. I will do my best to respond to comments while away, but if not, rest assured I will get back to you on my return!

37 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

I need a holiday after this challenge! :D

C.M.Brown said...

I had a holiday during the challenge and I still feel exhausted.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've still a couple weeks of scheduled posts but I'll be easing back into that writing very soon.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

A long ,relaxing holiday sounds lovely but I don't see one coming up for me anytime soon. However, a few mini breaks (an afternoon, a day, maybe a weekend!) sound like just the thing. :)

L.G.Smith said...

I haven't done any serious writing in over a month now. Taking a long break from blogging to get back to the novel. So looking forward to it.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hats off to you and everyone else who did the challenge. I think you deserve time off! Time off to refuel before getting back to writing.

Morgan said...

OOoo... have fun on holiday, Nick! And yes, time away is so great for your writing... it's amazing what rejuvenation can do. :D

Mina Burrows said...

Okay, this got a good chuck from me Amen or should I say goodnight. Enjoy your trip Nick! :)

Nicole said...

It's definitely good to refresh and get some new perspective every once in a while. Thanks for a great series of posts during the challenge!

Liwi said...

Very true! Allowing yourself to take breaks is so important...that's why good time management is so big.

J.L. Campbell said...

Some time off would be lovely. I have to get that in here and there. Yes, holidays from writing is a good way to recharge.

Elise Fallson said...

You did a great job with your posts and even got them in while you were away! *high five!* Enjoy your time off and your ZZZZZZZZZZ you deserve it.

thespotts said...

I don't write on a schedule, so I haven't found (yet) the need to recharge. What I have found, though, is that a night of sleep does seem to help with writer's block.

Kelley Lynn said...

I didn't do the challenge, but I tried to read as many posts as I could!

Congrats on finishing!

Cynthia said...

Sometimes time away from a WIP can help me approach the problems in it with a fresher mind when I return. That's why it's healthy to have hobbies outside of writing.

Congratulations on finishing this challenge! I am taking a short break, which I describe in more detail on my blog for Day Z.

I hope you have a great holiday. Maybe you'd pick up some inspiration for some new stories along the way.

C.B. Wentworth said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge! You did a great job! :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - hope you're all having a lovely time cruising the fjords I think .. enjoy.

Cheers and congratulations on finishing, packing, getting across to in-laws .. and to getting away on holiday .. have fun .. Hilary

Tara Tyler said...

congrats & enjoy your holiday!

Jay Noel said...

Hope you're having a great holiday!

Julia King said...

I've been a week into the NO WRITING zone. Last week I finished revisions on my first book. It was time exhausting and mind muddling. I need a break. So I decided two weeks was it. I went on vacation last weekend and have been relaxing it up. Come Monday, though, I'll be cracking open my WIP and editing it as per beta's suggestions. Woot!

And you deserve a break! Enjoy your holiday!

Claire Hennessy said...

Well done for finishing the challenge and having a THEME! Awesome :)

C.M.Brown said...

Well done Nick, glad you were able to complete the challenge! I have now had a bit of a break and have committed to a few little blogs and set my goals for May!

kmckendry said...

Hope you're having a great holiday!
Yes taking some time off always helps me recharge my creativity.

Annmarie Pipa said...

congrats on finishing....and welcome back! hope you enjoyed your time!

Trisha said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you had a great holiday :)

The Armchair Squid said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge. Hope you enjoyed your holiday.

Rek said...

A break from routine always helps...sorry I haven't been around but will visit more often.

Alyssa said...

Hey! I've given you an award over at my blog!! http://www.lifeisgood-forever21.blogspot.com/2012/05/kreative-blogger-award.html

Nick Wilford said...

Kyra - It was definitely relaxing.

C.M. - I had a holiday at the start too and trying to catch up with that first week was shattering!

Alex - Good luck with the writing - no pressure?!

Madeline - Hope you get a few breaks!

L.G. - I think a few are taking a blogging break. Good luck with the writing.

Elizabeth - I still wrote during the Challenge, but towards the end my WIP was getting superceded by writing that day's post. I do feel refreshed now and I'm back into it!

Morgan - Time away is great for gathering thoughts and I got a couple of new ideas too!

Mina - I enjoyed the trip and the Zzz's (though the waters were a bit choppy at times!)

Nicole - I agree. Thanks for the compliment on my posts!

Liwi - I'm a little bit behind on my targets after the challenge, but I'll try not to stress about that.

Nick Wilford said...

J.L. - Living in a beautiful place like you do you wouldn't have to go far for a nice holiday!

Elise - Thanks a lot! I think I did X, Y and Z all in one go... the Challenge was a bit mad. Your posts were awesome!

thespotts - I think it's getting regular sleep that helps - I don't tend to get enough when I'm at home...

Kelley - Thanks! Maybe you'll join in next year?

Cynthia - I read your post. Hope all is well! I was inspired by a few interesting characters on the cruise, lol.

C.B. - Thanks! Back atcha! :)

Hilary - Not quite at the fyords - Holland, Estonia, Russia, Denmark - but I would love to see them. Yes, PACKING was definitely a challenge (as well as the mountain of washing I'm now dealing with!)

Tara, Jay - Thanks! It was pretty cool!

Nick Wilford said...

Julia - Thanks! Hope your holiday was good, too, and the edits are going well.

Claire - I'm not sure how I would have managed without a theme! Too much choice!

C.M. - Good luck with the goals, I get the feeling most of us are getting back in the swing of things now!

Kathy - It was amazing. Just being away from the same old place and seeing new things is inspiring.

Annmarie - I certainly did! Thanks!

Trisha - No worries! It's nice to catch up. :)

The Armchair Squid - Thanks, I did!

Rek - It does. I need to get over to your blog too.

Alyssa - Thanks so much! :)

Morgan said...

Hope you're still having a great holiday! And that the creative writing juices are being replenished! ;)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Those breaks are so important. I like to give myself permission to read, read, read like crazy and not feel guilty about not writing. Usually after a week I'm dying to get back to it and feeling completely refreshed.

Hope your holiday was grand!

Nick Wilford said...

Morgan - Well, holiday's all over now, but I'm really enjoying writing again!

Ruth - I thought I would get more reading done on the holiday, but just seeing all the different ports of call was inspiring too.

Elise Fallson said...

Yeah for writing! I'm having the opposite problem. Haven't been able to write in days. ): Glad you had a nice holiday! (:

The Golden Eagle said...

I agree. Taking time away from a project can often help clear my head!

Nick Wilford said...

Elise - Hope you can get back into it!

Golden Eagle - It's great to be able to look at it afresh when you come back.