Do you need a writing time out?

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Do you need a break from your writing?

That is a valid question. It doesn’t mean you’re failing at writing. It doesn’t mean you’re burned out. Everybody needs a break from time to time. In fact it’s essential that you take a break from writing.

I feel one of the things that has allowed me to write continually for so many years is taking breaks. Sometimes I throw a draft in a drawer for not a day or two – it’s more like a couple of weeks. I don’t feel guilty and I don’t open that drawer till I’m ready.

That time away allows me to return to my script with a new perspective and fresh eyes. Problems don’t seem as monumental as they did before. The flow of ideas feels less stodgy.

Most times, taking a break doesn’t mean I stop writing altogether – but there’s no pressure. I’ll scribble a couple of notes. I’ll write down an observation. I want to keep up my habit of consistent writing but in a relaxed fashion. It’s all writing. There are no rules or quotas to fill.

Alternatively, I might work my creative muscles in a different way. I’ll go to a play, go to a gallery. I’ll go for a walk and really focus on observing the world around me. This is part of your process. Being out in the world will make you a better writer.

Do not feel embarrassed or ashamed if you’re so stuck with a work you have to walk away. Take a break. Take yourself on an artist’s date. Your brain will thank you and so will your writing.