Stop and Have Some Fun: Avoiding Burnout and Unnecessary Stress

2014-03-22 22.39.37So I have a not-so-secret secret for you: too much nose to the grindstone with zero fun makes you crazy.

Yes, I know, not exactly genius. But you’d think it was. I’ve been pushing really hard to get a book ready in time for conference. Like crazy-time pushing, meaning I didn’t even take the weekend off. Every day meant thousands of words, either writing them, deleting them, or a bit of both. Which is fine, for a little while. But as my mind narrowed too much on the story, and all I could see were the two remaining chapters that weren’t working, what it translated to was me seeing the entire manuscript as not working.

Seriously, on Friday last week I almost would have printed out the entire manuscript just to start it on fire. This is not a healthy approach to my work.

So I took the weekend off. And I stewed on Friday and Saturday, felt generally miserable even as I started to play up in the craft room (I’ll post on my other blog, Craft Room Chronicles, what I was up to). And then Saturday night I decided yet again not to work, even on the critiques I owe my partners (Friday night is critique night in my world). Instead I watched the first Harry Potter movie, with all of those actors so young, just kids, and the beautiful sets that beg you to recreate them in miniature.

And suddenly I felt a lot better. The rest of the nonsense I’d been worrying about, all sorts of things I have absolutely no control over, that evaporated. Today I could go back to writing, and while completing a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, I could actually see maybe the book was, gasp, not terrible!

So again with my not-so-genius advice, which I’m ashamed to say both my husband and best friend advised (and I duly ignored and denied). Take a break. Have some fun. Your brain and mental outlook will thank you. It’s a bright beautiful world out there, and sometimes we just need a change of perspective. 🙂

Ever have that moment, where you’re just too stuck in what you’re doing to know when you need to step away?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a great week. Happy writing!





2 responses to “Stop and Have Some Fun: Avoiding Burnout and Unnecessary Stress”

  1. E.C. Avatar

    lol You sound like me, Sometimes I have to take breaks to be able to see the forest instead of the trees. So-to-speak.
    I generally know to step back and take a break when I’ve over-thought what I’m wanting to accomplish with too many alternative ways to proceed with the project. I focus on a different activity or activities for as long as I need to sort out how I want to proceed. (Depending on the project, sometimes this can take weeks to years) When I’m ready and restart the project with fresh ideas organized in my mind, I usually can complete it easier and it turn out better than I had originally planned.
    Did any of this make sense?

    1. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 Yes, that completely makes sense. Some projects need that space (I have a few that are still waiting for me to return). Good to know I’m not the only one who sometimes gets so locked into a project you get lost in it. 😉