Friday Speak Out!: You Deserve a Break Today, Guest Post by Sioux Roslawski

Friday, January 17, 2014
Okay, some of us have been snowed in recently. And you'll see in a moment how that precipitation (which was at first a beautiful white blanket but now is a bit dingier) comes into play, because today I'm encouraging you to take a break...from your writing.

Oh, not a long break. Don't leave that manuscript or that article long enough that it collects a thick layer of dust. No, I'm advocating for a short leave...just long enough to jar your thinking and get your creative juices flowing again. And here are some possibilities:

Handwork—If you knit/crochet/carve Justin Bieber statuettes out of prune pits, moving away from your computer and—for twenty minutes or so—doing something else frees up your mind. You're using your fine motor skills in a different way than tapping away on your keyboard. Then, return to the piece you're working on.

Cooking—Cook a quick side dish or toss a salad. If it's a dish that evokes lots of memories, your culinary creation might lead to future writing ideas. Varied textures and tastes, along with distinct aromas, occupy our minds in unique ways. Then, put your butt back in your chair...

Manual Labor—Okay, here is where the snow reappears. Getting away from your writing and doing something that makes you sweat (like shoveling snow) or gives you some immediate gratification (like scrubbing your bathtub) lets your mind loose, allowing you to return to your writing—rejuvenated.

Something Epistolary—I have a friend who writes letters—dozens of handwritten letters every week, and she is a fierce writer. There must be some method to her madness, so there there are occasions when I put aside whatever submission I'm working on and write a letter. Yes, I'm still writing, but I'm using a completely different process, and as I see the inked (and sometimes illegible) words form on the paper, it gets my brain headed in new directions. Then, get back to your draft.

Exercise—This could mean running back and forth between your chair and the cupboard, getting a handful of chocolate chips each time. It could mean lifting some weights. It could mean doing a bit of Pilates or taking a brisk walk. Then put your rear end (and it might be leaner, after enough “breaks,” unless you take Hershey breaks) back in your writing chair.

Conversation—Talk to a writing friend about what you're working on. This could be over the phone or in person. Taking the time to discuss your writing obstacles, whether it's just a quick chat or a critique session, is extremely valuable. And listening is just as important. Hearing what other writers are working on can spark something in your head.

Obviously, it's crucial we stick to our writing. We have to remain firmly tethered to our goals and keep deadlines circled on our calendar. But if we find ourselves rooted in front of our keyboard and don't move—and do something different occasionally—we might find ourselves getting stagnant.

And stagnant things stink....

* * *
Sioux Roslawski is a freelance writer, a 3rd grade teacher, and a member of the infamous writing group, the WWWP's. She is keeping her fingers crossed about her 9th Chicken Soup for the Soul story, and rescues dogs for Love a Golden. You can find more of her writing at
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Unknown said...

Sioux, I had to laugh as I read this post. Just minutes before coming to the Muffin, I had decided I was going to make this a ME day. Last year was stressful and the after effects of it are oozing out of my system in a short-temper and grinding jaw.

Today? Candles. Bath. Long walk. Healthy food. Reading. Journaling. Writing, if I feel led. And after a timed session to catch up on a few online things. NO internet. Thanks for the spiritual confirmation that I am on the right track for my day!

Unknown said...

Hi Sioux, thanks for the inspiration! I particularly like the counting running to the cupboard for chocolates as exercise! It is good to be reminded that we do need to take breaks, especially when feeling stagnant. Thanks for speaking out today!

Margo Dill said...

Completely agree with you. Thanks for the reminders and ideas. (And where do you get one of those Justin Bieber statues?)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Julie--It sounds like the makings of a great day. I hope you later you can write. Thanks for stopping by.

Karen--Yes, feeling stagnant means we need to shake things up. Thanks for commenting.

Margo--Thank YOU. (And I'm only the secretary of the Justin Bieber fan club, so I'm only authorized to make statuettes. To make the full-sized statues, you have to be the president. I'll send you her contact information in just a moment...)

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks, Sioux! Lucky for me, I have a bossy little dog that forces me to take "walk" breaks even when I'm under deadline--twice a day at 9 a.m. and promptly again at 4 p.m. Another one of my favorite ways to take a break is to catch up on crime shows, except I think I've seen one to many, as I figured out the "hook" in an episode of "Criminal Minds" the other day in the first ten minutes. Oh well.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--Thanks for dropping by. My bossy dog insists on playing ball several times a day. (Do you watch "Castle," as it's a bit about crimes and a bit about a writer...)

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