In my series, “Writing More and Writing Better,” the posts have covered overcoming distractions, writing with a day job, and setting weekly goals so you can write more and more often. But, like every passion, you also need to set time aside to take downtime from your writing work so that you can return to your writing refreshed.
This weekend for the Labor Day Holiday, I wrote one piece on Friday and then took the rest of the weekend to relax on the coast of North Carolina. Saturday was fishing with Dad and Sunday was spent hanging out with friends after driving back home. The weekend downtime gave me the opportunity to recharge my creative batteries and study some of the headlines and first sentences I wrote as part of following through on the four goals set for the week.
Those goals included writing three pieces of at least 750 words, write headlines and first sentences to plan future writing projects, read posts on Medium or blogs and write a response, and finally pitch several stories to Medium publications. So far, the headlines and first sentences number about ten good ideas that will turn into three different pieces next week, but for the remainder of Sunday and Monday of this long weekend, I will spend it relaxing, updating my website, and generally setting goals for where I want my writing to be over the next three to six months.
It is essential that writers take time to recharge their ‘creative’ batteries especially with all the expectations we set upon ourselves to deliver content for our followers.
Brian Kurian is one of the hardest working and most disciplined writers I follow on Medium, and even he knows that having the proper mindset requires taking a break from writing to recharge and find balance. In his article, “What Working 52 Days In A Row Will Do To A Person,” he talks about the feelings that come when you work hard over an extended period of time, you realize that you need to take a break to recharge. The two days off for Brian seem like they helped tremendously because his latest articles have delivered some incredible content.
So, how does one recharge the creative batteries and not lose the disciplined approach that you have cultivated over the last period of time?
Make sure you are taking the time to read books, blogs, news, etc. so that you are taking in the information that will drive thought and at some point a story. Reading helps recharge the creative batteries.
Participate in something you enjoy during your downtime such as a hobby or activity that you are passionate about because that time can help you relax, clear your mind, and give you story material or help you figure out what that character needs to do in your current work in progress. Relaxation by participating in one of your other passions can clear your mind and fire your imagination; ultimately recharging your creative batteries.
Taking time to get a good night’s sleep is critical not only during downtime from writing but also during the regular work week. When you are mentally and physically exhausted, you cannot deliver your best work no matter what you think. So, getting a good night’s sleep and quality rest help recharge your creative batteries, daily.
So, reading and hobbies are two ways to make quality use of a period of downtime to recharge your mind and body along with a good night’s sleep will help you return to delivering the quality content your followers have come to expect from you. Recharging is critical to a discplined writing career.
A quality life requires you to maintain a balanced life. Balance will help you in your relationships, in your work life, and in your writing life because when you are balanced, you can deliver everything for everyone who depends upon you.
Good luck with your writing and remember to maintain your sanity and balance by taking time to recharge your creative batteries.
Take Downtime to find Balance in Your Writing Life was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.