Everyone needs to get away from work now and then. I prefer the concept of the mini-vacation. It’s basically a day here, a weekend there. However sometimes the work we do can require something a bit more than the mere day trip once in a blue moon. Sabbaticals can be great ways to step back, evaluate your goals, revise your plan, and see what your next steps to success might be.
As an author I enjoy the whole writing process! It can be tough at times: there are moments when I feel like I’ve hit a wall, that I’m pulling out my hair to meet a deadline, or come up with ‘what happens next, but overall I love to write. As big a part of my life as writing is it can be necessary for all of us to take a break now and then. I often take a small break a couple days, or up to a week, after finishing my first draft of a novel or short story. I call these events my sabbatical.
Just as with any career a sabbatical can be a great opportunity, and you don’t have to quit cold turkey to do this.
I do think that it can be equally important to take a sabbatical now and then especially after completing a writing project. There are different ways to do this both in a small way or in a grand, completely exclusive, cut-off from writing type of way.
Some great ways and reasons for taking a sabbatical from your writing can be to stop after a first draft (as I just mentioned) because it gives you time to separate yourself from the story in the last bits you were just writing, and provides you the chance to focus on the story as a whole. This will be a necessary step in connecting the dots and smoothing out the rough edges of your story– a good reason to keep a notebook handy.
Another way to take your writing sabbatical is to try and write something completely different. To keep your writing muscles strong and flexible, and maybe even expand your horizons, try your hand at composing a poem or song, give a script for a film or play a try–something that is a different narrative form than the project you just completed. Maybe even try some informational instead of a narrative.
The sabbatical itself doesn’t have to be very long for the simple reason that you don’t want to start having memory gaps about your project. Another good reason why we should have a notebook handy for jotting down bits of information and story details that you couldn’t see before.
If nothing else, if you can’t stand to be away from your project for any great length of time at least take a brain break for a day or two and head out to enjoy the real world away from your laptop so you can get a new perspective on things and come back to your story refreshed, renewed, and ready to make a good book better.