We writers write and read all year round. Even when we’re taking a break from everyday life. What’s better than a beach vacation with a good book? Or sitting on a porch in the mountains with a notebook in hand?
But we all need a break sometimes, even from writing. I took a three-week vacation with my family this summer, and on the advice of my writing partner, I didn’t write anything at all. It felt weird at first, but the break was refreshing. I looked for inspiration in the landscape, in the people around me, in how my emotions and body responded to my environment.
Studies show that breaks are necessary for creative work. (I was reminded of this recently by a video clip on how to learn; scroll down in the article for the video.) Moments of insight often come after deep focused work in moments of relaxation–a walk, a shower, a hike, cooking. These tasks are automatic and allow the brain to work through ideas either consciously or unconsciously. If you need more convincing, this New Yorker article spells it all out.
So follow our lead–take some moments or days to let your writing sit, to breathe fully, to let your focus wander so your creative brain can take over.
We’ll be back in September with more craft reviews, author Q&As, and special content.
A question for you: what would you like to see on our blog?
Are there books you’d like craft reviews of? Craft elements you’d like us to focus on? Topics we should cover?
Let us know in the comments!
Anne-Marie Strohman writes picture books and is working on a middle grade novel. She is trained as a teacher, an editor, and a scholar, specializing in Renaissance Literature. She lives in the mostly-sunny city of Sunnyvale with her husband and two children. She is an active member of SCBWI. Find her at amstrohman.com and on Twitter @amstrwriter.