Taking a Break

For me, writing is my break. Most of the time, anyway. I retreat from pretty much everything else that I have to do into my writing. The stories are where I make the world make sense.

So what happens when I don’t want to write?

Something like that has happened to to me. I’ve been struggling to get my characters to do pretty much anything. It’s not like writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas and my characters are talking to me. It’s me. I can’t stay focused on the page. I bring up the file and a sentence later I’m playing Facebook game. Or I discover that I need to trim my toenails. Or I need to check, just to be sure, that nothing interesting has happened on Twitter in the last thirty seconds.

Then on Tuesday, with my writer’s group, my writing buddy noticed just how distracted I was. She said I needed to take a break. Specifically, she said I needed to take Wednesday off from writing.

Take a day off? From writing? That’s just crazy talk, except my production had dropped so low I was lucky to get a whole paragraph written in a day. Maybe she had a point.

So I did it. Yesterday, Wednesday, I got up, wrote one sentence on my WIP (because I don’t want to break my five and a half year streak) and closed the document. I played Facebook games for a while. Watched Twitter scroll by. Chatted online with friends about their writing projects and families and well just about anything. It was wonderful, relaxing, and I didn’t feel guilty at all.

When I came home from my morning walk, I pulled up Dragon Age: Origins. I haven’t played that in over a month because I hadn’t been meeting my benchmarks. But yesterday, my benchmark was one sentence. I met it, first thing in the morning. It took me a little bit to get back in the swing of things and remember where all the controls were. I managed to get past one sticking point and all the way to the next plot point and got stuck again (oh well).

I went to dinner with friends and caught up on gossip. That would have happened anyway, it was a scheduled event. Even still it felt different yesterday. By the time I got home, I was itching to get back to my story.

I didn’t though. I didn’t want to ruin the day off by coming back early. I played string with my cats instead and went to bed early with my characters whispering in my ear about all the things they are going to do today when I get back from my vacation.

You know what? It worked. I woke up this morning and the words are flowing again. I’m pretty sure I’m going to meet my benchmark today with plenty of time to play Dragon Age before bed.

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