Taking a Writing Hiatus and How to Come Back

Christmas is over.  The wrapping paper is in the trash, and the cookies are all eaten.  Today is Sunday, and I’m getting ready to go see Transiberian Orchestra this evening.  Exciting!

Tomorrow marks the start of what I call “Hangover Week.”  It’s the four to five day span between Christmas and New Years that are a horrible purgatory of still in vacation mindset but you’ve still got to go to work.  The kids aren’t in school and your relatives might still be in town.  if you’re an introvert like me that’s a nightmare all by it’s damn self.  With all of that crazy going on, the thought of adding writing into your day can very well seem like a baseball sized crater crashing into your eggnog soaked brain.

So take the week off.

I’m serious.  There are times in our lives when all of the ‘Can do, pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality in the world will not help you.  Having a baby, the holidays, family emergencies, just being sick.  Any of these can toss your life on it’s ear.  This year, for instance, I took time off when we moved.  I also took from the 23rd to tomorrow off.

This is important.  Our brains need to rest, just like everything else.  Otherwise we suffer from burnout.  So take some time and take care of yourself.

Eventually, though, it’s going to be time to get back to work.  Like tomorrow for instance.  The next time you find yourself trying to come back from an extended writing break, here’s some things that might help.

Planning and preparations beforehand

  • If at all possible, schedule your return to the writing world. I know this isn’t always going to be possible.  If you’re sick it’s a crazy thing to even consider.  But if you schedule a hiatus on purpose, which I highly advise, plan your return date.  Put it on your calendar, in pen.  Because if you wait to get back to work when you ‘feel like it’ it might never happen.  If you know it’s coming, you’ll be more mentally prepared.
  • Have something waiting for you that you are pumped about.  Trust me, if I go back to a desk full of editing I’ll be less than enthusiastic.  If I have nothing, I’ll fear my desk. (Though I have two sure fire ways to avoid a blank page.  One is the fact that I’m working on a series.  The other is my 30 Days, 30 Ideas Challenge every August.)  But, if I left off on a great chapter, and I know what I want to do with the next one, I’m ready to get back to work.

The First Day Back

  • I try to plan my writing day back for a day I don’t have to work at the day job.  Coming back to work is going to take more time than you think.  If I try to start again with just my normal two hours, I’ll spend the whole time trying to collect my thoughts.
  • I don’t have a huge to do list the first day, because I know damn well I won’t get it all done.
  • I like to plan a special treat for the morning I get back to work.  A special creamer, a unique coffee.  Maybe even doughnuts.
  • I don’t ask a lot of myself, that first day.  It’s more about getting back into the grove than actually producing anything decent.

Here’s hoping this helps you get back in the swing this week.  I am going to spend the week trying to figure out my five year business plan and trying to get all of the stray wrapping paper out from under the furniture.  Oh yes, the indie writers life is just rock star.

If you’d like to support us here at Paper Beats World, and get access to more of my writing than I share here, please check out my Pateron page.  You’ll also get a copy of Days before anyone else! 




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