Welcome to our weekly writing prompt link-up! During the month of October, we’re running a 31-Day Writing Challenge called 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.
I’m writing my personal series on 31 Days of Writing Tips. Find more posts in the series HERE.
We’ve made it to Day 25, and today’s writing prompt is: WAIT
Today’s writing tip is to give yourself some space away from your work. Take a break from your screen or your notebook. The break could be five minutes, five hours, or five days (gasp!). Whatever you think is necessary in order to come back to it with a fresh perspective. Just make sure you’ll be disciplined enough to go back to it sooner than later so you don’t allow five weeks, months, or even years to pass by without returning to your work.
For me, one night usually works really well. I’m amazed by what a difference it makes for me to leave my work untouched overnight and re-open it in the morning. I can see it with a renewed vision. I’m often able to catch awkward sentences I didn’t see before, and sometimes add snippets I hadn’t thought about during previous writing sessions.
When I have a tighter deadline and can’t afford an overnight break, sometimes I stand up from my laptop and walk outside to get the mail. I make a point to look at objects far in the distance to focus my vision on something further than my laptop screen. I take deep breaths. Other days, I start a load of laundry or fold the clean clothes on my bed. It doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy, just enough time to get your mind and attention focused on something else for a few minutes.
If you make a habit of taking breaks from your work, what do you typically do during your time away? Go for a walk? Take a nap? What works for you?
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It’s not the time for taking breaks,
it’s not the time for rest.
It’s not the time for placid lakes
or feathering a nest.
I feel it happen every day,
I cannot reach the goal,
and though I bear down hard (and pray!)
it’s out of my control.
My days are getting threadbare now
in cancer’s warp and weft,
and my sole good choice is how
to work with what is left.
If heaven’s got an easy chair
I guess I’ll take a breather there.
Great tips! I usually take a break and clean a toilet or wipe down a counter. That way my mind can rest (but good ideas do pop up when I’m cleaning) AND get some housework finished!
Taking a break or a time out is extremely necessary. I like to clear my head by taking my dogs for a walk outside. Make a cup of coffee. Listen to music. Go back to work on a reupholstery project. I also like to wait several hours or even a day before I edit and post. Thanks for this advice, Kate.