Updated: Dec 22, 2020
1. Shake Off The Pressure
There is no golden rule that says you HAVE to be productive on your time off. Feel free to just be free. I know that there are various social pressures that keep us from being idle and that try and make us feel guilty for relaxing, but it is okay. The best way to keep your sanity is to not pressure yourself. Unless your book is coming out within the next two to three months, there is no reason to drive yourself crazy trying to break out of your writer's block. Just let it flow and the words will come when they are meant to.
2. Find A Safe Space
A safe space is crucial for writing, and I don't mean a home library. A safe space does not have to include a desk, chair or coffee (believe it or not). As writers, and you ARE a writer, we do not have to fit into the stereotype of writers. Our lives must go on, and not too many of us have landed a book deal or a job that lets us stay home and write. My safe space is my laptop--mobile and always with me. But, that has always been my writing style as my words and ideas come to me spontaneously and mainly when I'm not thinking about it. So it benefits me to always have something that I can take on the go. For you, that could be a notebook, notepad, or even the notes on your phone. Create your safe space the way you want it, digital or not.
3. Utilize The World Around You
Every moment is a moment for inspiration. As mainly a children's book writer, I look at the interactions I have had with children mainly for my stories. They provide the most organic and candid moments for my books. However, during the break that might prove to be more difficult for me, but open doors for you. Don’t be afraid to use the children in your life for your inspiration. Feel free to look at different media outlets for ideas such as tv shows and movies. But, most importantly, read read read. When starting my first children's book, the writing all the way to formatting was done with the inspiration of other books and shows. What words are typically used, are the stories straight forward and is the reader kept in the dark for part of the way? How did they format their chapters and how many jokes did they tell? There is nothing wrong with getting a feel for your literary genre. But, you can only do so through reading and research.
4. Don't Play The Blame Game
We know that we have so much going on now that our lives have been moved online. Kids, pets, parents are now in our space more than a typical day. However, we must remain positive and open to these new interactions. You might not get much done but try your best not to blame your family and friends. Remain diligent and write when you can, but enjoy this time with family as well.
5. Be Open To Feedback
Close friends and family are the best resources for proofreading. Maybe don't give them your entire book to read (I've tried it) but maybe a chapter at a time or a few paragraphs you need to rework. But, when showing things to family members keep an open mind, and I mean really open. Some family members may love it, some family members may try to eat it (your pets or siblings) and others might just plain hate it and that's okay (most of the time). Try and check your ego, but understand the value in your work. It is extremely important to develop an understanding of constructive criticism and knowing when to take it, or when to just say thank you and leave it.
Although these are all amazing tips, they are just suggestions. I want to make sure that you have the tools to be the best writer you can be and for you to continuously grow in the process. Take this break to relax and feel the breeze and maybe, if you have time, write that best selling story. Feel free to leave any comments below about your own writing process and tell me what you think!