Take Five: #15: Take a break

Take Five
Five-minute reads about writing
to help you with NaNoWriMo
Nov. 1 - Nov. 30, 2011
Courtesy: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)

#15: Take a break

This is the halfway point, marking the completion of at least three chapters. While you do have to keep at things and be persistent, there's also a point where continuing to push yourself will only result in diminishing returns.

Yes, you do have to stay at it, as nothing will ever get written if you don't. On the other hand, if you don't allow enough time for a break here and there, it'll actually be harder to stay the course and make progress. And you have to consider just how much writing you'll be getting done while passed out on the floor out of sheer exhaustion.

That's right.

Of course your focus and commitment should be steady and intense, because that's how you finish a creative project. But think about the computer you're using, the tool you're using to put your story on paper...

What would happen if you just left that computer on two weeks in a row?

Exactly. Just like working tools like computers need to shut down or go into hibernation mode to conserve energy, work more efficiently or just function correctly without freezing up or going haywire - so do you.

So, if you have at least your first three chapters - or at least a solid grip on what happens in your first three chapters - then today's a free day. Of course you should stick to your two-hour writing session pledge. And of course you can be writing, elsewhere.

But there's no writing lesson here, not today - because today's focus is on giving yourself enough time to recharge, so that you can actually be more efficient and clear-thinking on your return.

The only assignment - if any - is to take a break. You can pick any of the possibilities below, or do your own thing, but for the next five minutes to half an hour, you're not allowed to write anything:

* Take a brief walk outside
* Pick up some grocery supplies
* Tidy up your work space
* Make yourself more comfortable, adjust your chair or get a pillow, depending on your writing table set-up
* Print out a fresh copy of your manuscript and put it next to your computer, take time for quick review and edits when you get back
* Have a bubble bath or hot shower
* Buy candles, fresh flowers, or any other small luxury that makes your writing space feel welcoming
* Take an online quiz
* Make something delicious and enjoy every bite of it
* If you have a dog, give him or her an extra walk
* Stretch gently, paying special attention to your back, which might be more sore or stiff than usual
* Watch this video and feel free to sing along, dance, or commiserate:

Shown above: The NaNoWriMo Song (2011)

More ways to chill out over here: Relax and revive
- Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic.

About this series
The Take Five series is curated by Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic. You can find out more about the book here, if you like:

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