Sometimes the words don't come.
Sometimes I don't even want the words to come.
Sometimes I want stillness, and silence, and a sense of something staying the way it is.
Sometimes I question the hours, days, weeks I don't write a new word or edit a group of old ones.
Sometimes I know undeniably that a break is what I need. Sometimes that's a bigger truth than the sun.
Why taking a break from writing is good for you
When I take a break from writing I create this stillness and silence that I crave, but I also begin a new conversation. I firstly tell myself that it's okay to not write for a while. I remind myself that focusing on other things will also progress my journey albeit in a roundabout way. I reassure the questioning part of me that I have always come back from writing breaks. I am too invested in writing to walk away completely...
Secondly, I promise myself to spend the time wisely. Whether that's working on another creative or professional project (which has recently been these special cards), going on a dream holiday, or whether that's just spending time with my family, I direct my energy to these things with confidence that they will take me places I need to go as a person and as a writer. A writer must live a little in order to have something to write about. Also, this writer needs to pay her bills.
After I've done some gentle reassuring and some determined pledging, I let myself get on with whatever I need to get on with. I don't dwell on not writing. At some point, inevitably, I enjoy it. I enjoy letting go of the invisble obstacles that had stopped me writing or slowed me down. I fool myself that I've hurdled my way over them, but in reality I've just taken a scenic detour that will lead me back to them eventually, though they will possibly change shape or size in my absence.
When to stop taking a break and get back to it...
I enjoy the break, until I don't. Because I've written regularly for long enough that it is now a bit like cleaning my teeth or washing my sheets - I don't always want to do it and I can afford to be late skip it a few times in my lifetime - but I'll always go back to it. It just feels and is wrong not to. That's when I start thinking about the journey back home to whatever it was I was working on and that's when I start to see those familiar but slightly altered obstacles... I sigh a little because they're still there, but I find my sighing isn't as deep as it used to be because I'm a little fuller and less hollow because of the rest I've had and the break I've enjoyed...
What I don't realise is that it is the changing of shape and size that I need to happen. I don't need to avoid the challenges, but rather approach them from a different angle, to see them from a different perspective. And sometimes only taking a break will help me gain that new and enabling perspective.
And as Banksy (apparently) wisely said, 'If you're tired learn to rest, not to quit."
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Frances M. Thompson
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