Friday Five: On taking a break…

As you may know, I’ve been working feverishly on a revision. And by feverishly, I mean I’m sitting in front of my laptop whenever a I have a quiet minute. When I’m NOT working (I have a family that, while fantastic, demands a fair amount of my time), I’m mentally obsessing about when I’ll be back at my computer, typing away.

Honestly, I was starting to get a little burnt out on my revision. My motivation was lagging and my creative inspiration was drained almost dry.

Until yesterday…

Yesterday was a very busy day. I was up at 4:30am and didn’t go to bed until after 10pm. I didn’t actively revise AT ALL. That’s a rarity, and all day I was feeling distantly guilty and a little bitter about my lack of time to work. I just want to finish this revision, you know?

But… yesterday was a really good day.  

1. I had an excellent run, and was home before the sun came up.

2. I got to volunteer in my girlie’s  kindergarten classroom. I got to spend time painting with adorable five-year-olds who told me sweet stories about their families and their favorite colors and the things they like most about school.

3. I had brunch at a very tasty restaurant with a very good friend. The girl talk was much needed and much appreciated!

4. I completed my first ever Bikram Yoga class. That’s twenty-six postures in ninety minutes in a one-hundred-five degree room. It was so freaking hard, yet I can’t wait to go back!

5. And, I found my first ever four leaf clover!

Moral of the story? Sometimes a day free of outlining/writing/revising can be a GOOD THING. While part of me wishes I’d made some progress on my WiP yesterday, a bigger part of me is grateful for the break. I feel refreshed and inspired and motivated, ready to tackle revising again today.

Tell Me: How often do you take a day off from writing? What do you do to reclaim your creative inspiration?

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39 responses to “Friday Five: On taking a break…

  1. Excellent post.

    I loved the originality and the fun in this post. It was fun to read and I hope you have many more days like this one.
    Kind Regards and God bless you
    Kevin.

  2. Unfortunately, with a full-time job, kiddos, lots of volunteer stuff, and general life maintenance, I take too many days off! Last night I completely got sucked into pinterest looking for pictures of cute couples. 🙂 Then I started PUSHING THE LIMITS and I was a goner. No writey.

    I try not to beat myself up too much about it. My family is very supportive and will allow me to leave the house for an entire day for writing if I need to, so it’s just as easy to fall back into the good writing habits as it is to fall out of them.

    Don’t you love kindergartners?! ❤

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    • Kindergartners are adorable! That said, I’d NEVER want to teach them full time… I don’t know how my daughter’s teacher does it!

      It’s so wonderful to have a supportive family. I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far with my projects if I didn’t have a husband who encourages me and gives me the time I need during those frenetic writing phases.

      How are you liking PUSHING THE LIMITS? I read that one last month… Pretty steamy!

  3. Congrats on the Bikram! I am so impressed that you did it on a day in which you ran, too–you’re a superwoman.
    I tend to get a little obsessive about always writing/revising when I’m in the middle of a project. This post is a great reminder that everybody needs a day off now and then. And it’s okay to take one!
    Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Thanks, Rebecca! I get obsessive too (obviously!). I’m always worried that I’ll lose my momentum if I take even a small amount of time off. Sometimes, though, a break can be just what I need. 🙂

  4. I agree..taking off can help. I took off 2 weeks while I was away vacationing, and even though I really WANTED to be revising the whole time (I know I know what’s wrong with me I was in Switzerland)…I didn’t. I came home and then things unfortunately happened 😦 but I kept revising bc I knew my grandma would be proud I wrote a novel (ok the topic she’d be aghast about but lol she’d be proud I knocked out 220 pgs). 🙂 Days off or weeks off or TIME OFF in general is a great way to reboot.

    • I can only imagine how thrilled your Grandma would be, Rachel! I’m glad she’s continuing to inspire you. 🙂

      Here’s hoping life calms down for you a bit over the coming months. You’ve had a busy summer!

  5. katharineowens

    You go, girl! Sounds like a lovely, lovely day. I so agree with this. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t have a ‘regular’ schedule that allows me to write at the same time everyday… but then I realize when I write -I write, and when I don’t- I don’t… and it all works out in the end. :0)

    • Life does have a way of working out, whether we stress or not. Sometimes (in the SUPER stressful moments) that’s hard to remember. Hope all’s going well with your writing, Kat. 🙂

  6. Bikram yoga!! Congrats on making it through your first class! I looove Bikram yoga. There isn’t a studio here and I’ve been missing it so much!! I started in Durham, NC with 40 days of back-to-back classes and it was AMAZING. A little not-so-secret secret? Coconut water = your new best friend. 🙂
    **end yoga tangent**
    Anyhow – on breaks, I’ve found that I have some of my biggest breakthroughs on the days after a break. I think your brain needs it from time to time. Good luck with those revisions, Katy!! And if you ever need another beta reader, let me know! 🙂

    • Ooh! I saw a few people with coconut water last night… I’ll definitely get some before my next session. And hello! I can’t believe you did forty days back-to-back! I thought I was going to die by the time we finished. Miserable! BUT, I felt awesome thirty minutes later, and now I’m really excited about doing it again.

      Thanks for the beta offer… I might just take you up on that one of these days, Bridgid. 🙂

  7. Oh Katy, this is exactly what I needed today. Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  8. I would never, ever be able to teach kindergarten. Fourth grade is about as young as I’m willing to go. That being said, they’re completely adorable, and I’m sure volunteering was a lot of fun 🙂

    • Volunteering IS fun, because you get to leave after an hour or two. 😉 I did a year in second grade back in my teaching days and it was a challenge. I favored fifth grade for sure. What’s your ideal grade level?

      • My favorite grade so far has been 6th, but I’ll be happy as long as I’m in middle school. I’m sure I’d be happy in high school, too, but I’ve had way more fun in middle school because they’re still excited about things!

  9. Your post really hits home because I’m working on a revision right now, too. Also, I just by accident tried Bikram Yoga instead of my regular class. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life. The four leaf clover is a great sign that you’re due for some luck!

    • Uh, I’m not sure I could have made it through Bikram without mentally preparing all day… I’m impressed! And yes, I’ll take that good luck whenever it presents itself. 🙂

  10. I kind of know when I need a break. My brain will continue to stall on the same spot, I get nowhere and twenty shades of frustrated, and I just know I have to break from it. That Paradise Lost scene you read? I had to break a long time from that baby before I could write it. So I did. For two months. And just let my subconscious work while I moved on to other things in the rewrite. When I came back to it, was ready to come back to it, I was in a much better place mentally.
    To take breaks I tend to exercise, read, even clean. Gives me another productive outlet while my mind has a chance to wander and sort things out. Sounds like you had a nice break from everything, and I hope you make mucho progress on the revision this weekend! Good luck!

    • I think that’s what’s happening now, Alison: My subconscious is working on things that I just haven’t figured out yet. I’m definitely at a wall, but hopefully I’ll be able to climb it very soon. I read and exercise to unwind as well, or, I play with my girlie. I hope you’re making lots of revision progress too… Maybe we’ll finish at the same time and have a virtual toast. 😉

  11. Yes! I am a huge fan of taking breaks. A nice walk will do wonders. 🙂 Usually, I just go watch some TV though. Nowadays, I go play with the puppy some if I’m feeling frustrated.

    Glad to hear you had a great day!

    • I turn to TV and walks too, and also reading. Though, sometimes opening a good book makes things worse because then I end up feeling like a hack! Congrats on the new puppy… What kind is it?

  12. It’s hard to take a whole day off because most days I’m working and when I don’t write that day, I’m still not doing great stuff like yoga and girls’ lunch out. Vacations, however, I like to take away days – shopping, thrifting, going on an adventure. I think it helps to come back fresh.

  13. This is how I felt when I took August off. It wasn’t even planned – I was just really busy! – but it was really refreshing and now I’m recharged and ready to get back to writing.

    Glad you had such a fun day!

  14. Camping gives me a break, since there’s nowhere to plug in my computer. It is nice to have a breather at times, to give your mind a rest so that it is ready to get back to work with gusto when you return to revising or writing.

    • I agree about the breather, though I’m definitely not a camper. My husband took me once and we ended up coming home after one night. He said I wouldn’t be “invited” again. Darn! 😉

  15. Breaks are awesome, and often MUCH needed. It sounds like you really took advantage of your day off! 😀

  16. Wonderful reminder, Katy! I´m currently revising, and I get quite obsessed with it, trying to steal moments during the day for it…but sometimes, we do need to just “enjoy the moment”, even if it means not being on the computer typing away 😀
    So glad you had a great day!

    • Thanks, Elodie… It’s hard not to get bogged down under revisions sometimes, but those occasional breaks do wonders for my sanity and for my creativity. We need to remind each other to take them!

  17. Sophia Richardson

    That *does* sound like an awesome day, and I’m so glad you got to take a breather from the revision bubble!

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