Taking a break from a project you’ve been working on intensely can be a risky business: you can lose your writing rhythm. On the other hand, it can also be energizing and productive.
Right now, I’m taking a brief break from my YA novel. At first, I was hesitant to take this step, because I thought I might lose momentum, but that isn’t really a big issue. To my mind, there are some really good reasons for stepping away from a project for a while:
New ideas percolate: Taking a break takes the pressure off mentally, which gives your mind a chance to let new ideas bubble up and brew. Some of them may prove valuable and find their way into your project.
Old grooves get a break: When you’re working intensely on one project for a while, you can get into a rut, plowing over the same mental and emotional territory again and again. Taking a break allows you to shift your mental focus, which can be very fruitful.
You can rest and recharge: When I’m working intensely on a revising a chapter or strengthening a character, my mind often shifts into overdrive, making it hard to relax and rest. Taking a break slows everything down and lets me coast for a while.
You can broaden your horizons: When you are laser focused on a project, by definition, you have a very narrow field of vision. While this can give you momentum, it can also prevent you from seeing exciting new possibilities and expanding your project beyond its existing boundaries. Taking a break can lead to a more expansive, more compelling vision for your work.
Have you found pauses to be restorative? I’d love to hear from you! Write on!