The importance of downtime

So I’ve gone a bit quiet on the ol’ blog of late.

I knew it was coming. It was inevitable really.

I was pumping out on average 10,000 words a week on Cate’s story, the final book in my City Love series, plus juggling work, parenting, and everything else. Then the other week I wrote the second last chapter and I was spent. I’m putting off the final chapter (very unlike me) because I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about the series and saying goodbye to my City Love girls.

But I was done. It was time.

Write hard, then breathe

I’ve been described as focused. Just ask my husband. It’s best you don’t get in my way when I’m in the midst of a cleaning frenzy.

Control-Freak

I was once told when working out at the gym to slow down.

Bridget Jones exercise

My husband also regularly complains about my fuel consumption. It’s not that I speed. I’ve never once had a ticket.

Driving fast

I’m the same with my writing.

Writing machine

I know myself well enough by now to understand I’m not made for endurance though.

Exhausted

So now I’m in a period of enforced rest. I know if I don’t, I’ll end up like this:

Batman exhuasted

It’s school holidays and thank God for that. No morning school routine, making lunches, a break from after school activities. I’ve also wound down on my part time work for a couple of weeks to spend time with my son.

And sleep ins. Oh, sleep ins. When I became a mum people told me I would change. I would sleep lighter and wake early. Bahahaha.

all-sleep-in-toasters

Why down time is important for writers

A period of rest is essential for me as a writer. I know I’m ready for it when I find myself unable to sit and relax. I feel like I should be doing something. Anything. Writing, exercising, housework. Doesn’t matter what it is.

That’s when I know it’s time.

Rest

And before you start thinking downtime isn’t productive, think again. When I’m experiencing a period of downtime, I read a lot. Much more than when I’m writing. I watch movies. I read more media. I catch up with friends. All these things expose me to fresh ideas and new experiences. All very valuable stuff when you’re a writer.

Right now I also need a break from my current manuscript before I edit it. Plus I need time to daydream and develop ideas for my next series. I’ve written before about the importance of daydreaming here.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and do not too much.

How about you? Do you ever undertake periods of enforced rest?

 

 

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