Writers have a passion for their work. But sometimes the best way to safeguard that passion is to give yourself a break with a writer vacation. Taking time off and getting away from your office periodically is essential. This is equally true whether you work a full-time job and get in your writing before or after work or if you write full-time.
How a writer vacation can help your business, Part 1
As has been mentioned in the Writing Entrepreneur blog before writers must be entrepreneurs if they aspire to be full-time writers and make money at their craft. (See the post on Why Writers Make Great Entrepreneurs to read what traits writers and entrepreneurs have in common.) Just like any entrepreneur, a writer must create a product, let people know about that product, and manage a business if they are going to make the money they need to write full-time.
There are a lot of stereotypes about entrepreneurs and even more about writers, but one of the most concerning stereotypes states that a true entrepreneur or writer is always working. The truth is while you need to be disciplined in keep a writing schedule, occasionally you need time off from your writing.
You need to take a writer vacation once in a while. Many authors believe they have to write every day. It is hard to get through the day without writing something, so many writers write while on vacation or don’t take a vacation at all! This is a mistake. Your brain plays with ideas, filling up its reserves with images, sounds, and plots to use when your vacation is over.
People are more creative when they give themselves time off. This isn’t hearsay either. Scientific America has a great article, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime“, that goes through the scientific studies that show downtime gives the brain time to increase “productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity.” Give your brain a rest, a break from constant writing, and instead of forgetting how to write, your brain will be recuperating from writing and build up the energy and creativity to be even better at writing. You will probably be surprised too at all the ideas you come up with for your current writing and future writing projects while you are away from your office.
The truth is a writer vacation can have enormous benefits for an author if you know when to take a vacation, the type of leave to make, how to determine the right time to take your vacation, where to go on vacation and how to prepare so when you return home you can smoothly go back to your writing.
Writer Vacation Tip 1: Signs you need to take a vacation from your writing business
If you know the signs of burnout, you know when your brain is trying to tell you it needs a break from work. Writing is intense. There are deadlines to hit. There are to-do lists we create for ourselves, especially if we are indie publishing, that no one sets for us, but we feel we must do if we are going to be successful at this crazy idea we had of making a living doing what we love.
Here is a short list of signs you need a writer vacation. You may have more. If so, help your fellow authors and list them in the comments below.
Consider a writer vacation if you find yourself feeling:
Your family and friends are impediments to your success.
- When you find yourself losing patience with those you love or you are close stop and ask yourself are they really the problem, or are you so stressed out that their conversation seems trivial against the significant worries you have trying to finish all the work you feel you have to do to be successful. When people get you angry over small things, and you find yourself blaming them for your problems, that is a sign you need to take a break from your writing. You can’t be creative when you are losing your temper over trivial issues.
Small problems seem like major disasters.
- Once I woke up at night crying over the fact I had written a comment on a well-known author’s website and realized it was a stupid thing to do. I tossed and turned in bed at two in the morning realizing I would never be a successful writer because this famous person would make sure no editor ever bought from me. I woke the next morning and check the writer’s blog. There was a really encouraging note thanking me for my comment…If you panic over imagined mistakes or if you wake up in the middle of the night often in such panics, chances are these are signs you need a break.
You are mad all the time.
- A common sign that you need a break is when you wake up angry at the world. You are mad during the entire day. You can’t go to sleep because the little things from the day repeat in your head over and over again. In the morning you sit back and ask yourself why you are so upset you realize you don’t really know why you are annoyed with everything and everyone.
You don’t laugh anymore.
- I can always tell when I need a vacation. Nothing is funny to me. I don’t laugh at other people’s jokes. I don’t make jokes. I read the comics and think they are stupid. If you find yourself no longer seeing the humor in life, how can you write? Recognize you need a break.
You are tired all the time.
- When you wake up tired, are too exhausted to exercise or walk the dog, and you collapse at mid-day you are either sick or burning out. Stomach hurt all the time? You could be ill. There are physical effects of working too hard for too long without a break. If you are struggling with these heal issues, see your doctor, but if no one can figure out a reason for your symptoms, try taking a writer vacation and let your body recoup from all you have put it through. WebMD lists the following physical effects of stress as:
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
You can learn more about other stress symptoms in the article, Stress Symptoms.
In part 2 of this series we will take a look at Writer Vacation Tip 2: “What kind of vacations to take that benefit your writing business.”