by Karen Ball
Writing is a funny occupation. Seriously. It’s funny and crazy and one HECK of a challenge. I’ve talked with authors in the last week or so who are thrilled to be writing, grateful to be writing, struggling with writing, being driven CRAZY by writing (or more to the point, fast approaching deadlines). Many days, I’m immersed in the business of writing. Usually I love that. But every once in awhile, when the phone’s going crazy and my email is acting up and I’m behind on everything…well, I need a break. From deadlines and submissions and stress and all the facets of making a living in the crazy world of words and publishing. On those days, I take a micro-vacation. It can be last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, however long I need to rejuvenate my brain and enthusiasm.
When (not if, mind you) you find yourself needing a break, here are some suggested “trips” to try:
- First, just STOP. Stop trying to write words, figure out problems, meet deadlines, fix problems. Turn off the computer, the phone, any and all technology. If you need to, shut of your brain. Then, WALK AWAY. get away from your desk, or wherever you focus on your work. Even if it’s only for five minutes, just leave everything.
- Go outside and attack the weeds assaulting my garden. Sometimes the best way to figure out how to resolve a “thorny” issue in my job is to pull weeds. Can’t explain it, but it helps.
- Close your eyes and listen to music.
- Fix yourself a cup of tea or coffee (for me, it’s a mocha with a SERIOUS head of foam) and watch an episode of a favorite TV show (Downton Abbey, Everybody Loves Raymond, Law & Order, Longmire, Rizolli & Isles, to name a few)
- Play with Pinterest.
- Play with your pets. My dogs are always ready and willing to help me relax.
- Sit in the hot tub.
- Float in the pool.
- Clean your desk
- Take a power nap
- Phone a friend
- Write a letter
- If you can’t escape your desk or computer physically, then hop on over to http://inkygirl.com/wwfc to read the cartoons. I always find a smile there.
The key with micro-vacations is to set a time limit so you don’t end up just putting yourself even further behind. Remember, what you’re trying to do is get out of the grind and give your heart and mind a short break. It can be remarkably effective.
So how about all of you? What micro-vacations have you taken? Or what ones would you like to take?