3 Reasons You Should Take a Writing Vacation

On September 7, 2014, I launched this blog and declared myself a writer. I made a vow to write at least 500 words every day, a commitment I kept until last week (with the exception of this one day last January).

A week ago, I decided it was time to take a break. I was on vacation, relaxing at my sister’s house, and for the first time in over a year writing felt like a chore. I had ideas in my head, but lacked the discipline and desire to sit at the keyboard and give them life.

So, I gave myself permission to take a break. For the next seven days I did not stick to my daily writing schedule. I watched movies. I crocheted. I sat in front of my sister’s fireplace and played with her dogs. I ate junk food. I sang showtunes while working on a jigsaw puzzle. I visited with family and friends.

I wrote a grand total of 783 words in seven days. And I don’t feel guilty for not writing more. Along the way, I remembered why I loved writing, and recommitted to my daily discipline.

There are good reasons to maintain daily habits, but a hiatus now and then can also be beneficial. Here are the three lessons I learned by taking a writing vacation.

1. People are more important than writing.

I already knew this from my 2015 adventure to Australia, but this week was a good reminder.  During my vacation I visited with family and friends, laughing and reminiscing. We shared stories and jokes, making new memories as we remembered past holidays. It was exactly what I needed, and I am especially grateful to my sister Caroline for letting me use her house as home base this week.

2. Exploring other creative outlets is fun and inspiring.

Writing helps me process life and my emotional reactions to daily events. But it is not the only activity I enjoy. I love to crochet. Having time this week to sit with yarn on my lap, a new project on my hook, allowed me to express a different part of my creativity. I had fun exploring color combinations and pattern designs. Working on a project in silence allowed my mind to wander. I thought of potential new blog posts, new writing opportunities and projects I hope to accomplish in 2016. Even though I wasn’t writing, I was still engaged in mental processes which will help my writing. And because I gave myself a break from writing, I did all of this without feeling guilty for pursuing one activity while ignoring another.

3. Taking a break refocuses your energy.

Sure, a daily habit is important if we want to accomplish a goal such as writing a book, composing a symphony or completing artistic work. Meeting deadlines and maintaining a routine, self-imposed or created by others, requires discipline and determination. But my stamina for this discipline was waning. Writing was becoming work, an obligation instead of a release.

When I gave myself permission to take a writing vacation, I found myself eager to write again. Writing was not a “must do” but a “want to do” activity. Rather than being a chore, writing was a creative outlet once more.

Now it is time for me to go back home, resume my daily routines, and enter the real world. I am excited to write each day, eager to work on the projects I have outlined. My writing vacation was just what I needed to be ready to write again.

Photo of an empty wheelchair parked on the bank of a river with a dingy hitch attached to the back of the chair.
Vacation was fun but now it’s time to get back to work.

If you are contemplating a daily writing routine, but need some encouragement, you might want to visit My 500 Words. This online writing community, started by Jeff Goins, is one of the reasons I have been able to maintain my habit. The members are generous, supportive and sincere. They will welcome you with open arms. 

 

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8 thoughts on “3 Reasons You Should Take a Writing Vacation

  1. I am glad to hear you took a break and have come back with a renewed ambition to continue your daily writing. I have been struggling to find balance as I am finding that after also starting my blog in Sept. 2014 I am a bit burnt out. I am giving myself the freedom to blog without schedule in 2016, even if that means I lose some of my readership. If I want to post three times a week I will. If I want to post once per month I will. I’m looking forward to hearing about what is inspiring you these days!

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    • It was a GREAT week! I really needed to give myself permission not to write, and not to feel guilty about it. I have come to the realization that I will never finish “the book” if I don’t take a break from blogging every now and then. I will keep you posted on my progress, and will support you as you move forward in whatever manner feels comfortable for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I started my blog in April of 2015, but I never had any daily ambitions. In fact, usually once I start having to do something daily that spells the end of it for me. NaNoWriMo was a struggle, for example. And I didn’t do that every day, either. However, I think there is a middle ground that works best for me, and that is a schedule that isn’t daily. There’s a time management book called 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam that encourages you to think in weeks and hours (168 hours in a week), and I’ve found that to be a very useful and encouraging way to look at things. Regardless, I agree with your main point: vacation was great, and now it’s time to get back to it. Happy New Year!

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    • Thank you! I also did a daily challenge in November and it almost did me in.

      I haven’t read that book. But I did a time study earlier this year and found I have (on average) 25 hours of unobligated time per week. That realization made me much more intentional about how I spend my time, and I have weeded out some activities which didn’t bring me joy and fulfillment. Happy New Year to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For some people writing needs to be a daily routine (perhaps they don’t like people, or writing seems to be their life’s purpose). For me I miss writing when I don’t do it everyday – but I do have a life as you do away from writing. I find those other commitments and pleasures make it even more pleasurable when I get back to reading and writing. Perhaps I am a little strange.

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    • You may be strange, but I don’t think your writing and reading practices contribute! 😉 I needed the daily discipline as I resumed my writing journey, but the break was needed too.

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