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3 Powerful Reasons Why Taking a Break Will Refuel Your Writing

This guest post is by Paul Jun.

Coffee has been consumed (and hopefully breakfast).

Brain is revving, fingers are warm, your neck just cracked in the most awkward way, but it feels great.

Writers block

Image copyright tlorna - Fotolia.com

And . . . Go!

Go! . . .

G– . . . Sigh.

Nothing. Nothing is happening, fingers are paralyzed, brain feels disconnected from the spinal column, and the constant scratching of your head has turned into an everlasting burn.

Writer’s block.

We all suffer from it time to time, and we don’t really know how to overcome it when our nerves are constantly jumping one way and our brains are in sleep mode.

This is a subtle beeping in your body asking you to walk away from the computer or desk and get your mind off writing for a few hours, maybe even a few minutes if you’re lucky.

The outcome: clear head, clear thoughts, and a clear vision of what your next post will be.

Exercising both brain and body to mitigate stress

If the releasing of endorphins makes a person happy and feel better . . . need I say more?

If you aren’t the type to work out or do any physical activity, then I’m assuming you also can’t find the time to read..?

I noticed when I don’t do any exercise, my brain feels clouded, my mood is spontaneously foul, my attitude can change from positive to lackluster at the flick of a switch, and nothing ever feels okay.

When is the last time you had your heart pounding, or sweat dripping down past your eyebrow, and down your nose? If you’re familiar with the feeling, you know it’s incredible. The shower you take after: bliss.

You clean up, put on fresh clothes, sit in your chair and your mind is just empty. The nerves are calmed down, endorphins are flowing, and now you’re prepared to write . . . or at least begin the process.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for a writer to exercise both their brain and their body. That buildup of stress and constant weeks of working without exercise greatly impacts your train of thought.

You don’t need a gym membership. Go for a nice 20-30 minute run or walk. Punch a punching bag until you think it’s talking to you. Do as many pushups as you can until you fall flat on your face.

Do whatever you can to release that stress, and I promise when you begin writing the process will seem less dreadful.

Maybe today isn’t the day

There is a time and place for everything, and today may not be the day for you to write a thousand-word post.

If your attitude isn’t positive, do you expect your message to be?

Maybe it’ll motivate you to write a post on how to change that feeling. Give it a try.

But if today doesn’t feel like the day, then it isn’t.

In that case, today is a day for reading, gathering notes, doing something other than what you’ve been religiously doing. Watch a favorite movie or TV show. Finish up your reading or catch up with some friends.

Maybe sit in complete silence and meditate.

We are walking batteries, and over time, throughout the day, that battery gets drained by the minute. Being stressed is not a solution to this problem.

Today is just not a good day, so it’s time to redirect that energy to produce some productivity.

Notes on napkins

My PC tower and the thin border around my monitor have become a wall full of post-its.

If you’re like Don Draper, and you write random notes and ideas on napkins, today is the day to bring all that together and review what you’ve written down over the past few weeks or days.

Old ideas are the fuel to the flame. You can potentially create an incredible blog post, just with a few simple words or phrases you’ve jotted down. It’s almost like magic: hard to believe and at times shocking.

Organize your ideas and notes for relevant categories on your blog. Sometimes the notes that I write down are usually headlines or the first sentence of a blog post—the rest naturally flows, or at least kick-starts an idea.

Writer’s block can be mitigated and eventually overcome. These painless steps have proven to work wonders for me, and they don’t really cost you anything (unless I convinced you to sign up to the gym).

As writers, we overwork our brains and we don’t realize it. We are constantly thinking, constantly brainstorming, and constantly flooding our heads with superfluous information from blogs to books.

It’s not up for discussion—it’s time for you to take a break. Go to your room . . . or get out of it!

Paul is a writer/blogger on http://junhax.com. He focuses on sharing insightful stories and advice for writing, blogging, and personal development. You can also follow him at @junhax

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Comments

  1. Great Post Paul, I have 4 ways to deal with writer’s block, one is to go outside and take a walk, second is to play video games, third is to watch tv, and the last one is to work on my SEO, Marketing and other aspects of my website.

    But no matter which I do, I always have my BlackBerry nearby to write down any ideas ;)

    • Paul Jun says:

      Jamie, thanks for the comment!

      Video games is a hugeeeee one for me; that’s actually a very good point.

      And my phone has honestly become a great tool for writing down ideas, and the fact it automatically sync with the laptop makes it even more fun to use.

  2. Josh Sarz says:

    A very good point there. Sometimes we just need to take a break, walk away from the computer screen and just chill out on the grass.

    I also find that exercise helps in revving up your brain for the next awesome blog post. I make sure I have a day full of walking and biking and nothing Internet related to refresh my head.

    • Paul Jun says:

      Yep,

      and biking is absolutely amazing. Good choice for exercise.

      We all need that refresher once in a while.

      • Dion Lynk says:

        Let me 1st say, thank you for “The 50th Law” review. I feel as if that book is exactly what I need right about now. Really enticing read ladies and gents.

  3. Sonia says:

    I know this all too well and have learned to stop and take a mental break when needed. Sometimes I think people put too many expectations on them self to produce something and only end up with nothing. Taking a walk or getting out to exercise is awesome to release stress and just not think about it. Clearing your head works wonders when you’re trying to think too much.

    What works for me is setting up a schedule when I can devote time to write posts and comment on other blogs. When I am out and about, I have a note pad with me to jot down ideas that I see along the way for inspiration. You have to always be on the look out for new ideas to keep things fresh. Even if a particular idea doesn’t work with a post at that time, it’s “wording” might help with something else later.

    • Paul Jun says:

      Definitely, Sonia.

      Big expectations could sometimes lead to too much stress and pressure on the mind. I’m glad you use the old-school way of writing down notes: pen and pad — which is one of my favorite methods as well. I like the feeling of looking up at wrinkled post-it with a wonderful idea.

  4. Mike Carroll says:

    I totally agree with these posts! Breaks are essential for many things!

  5. tushar says:

    i have been through that feeling that THIS IS NOT THE DAY TO WRITE.
    its better sometimes to shut the machine and enjoy the day. rejuvenate yourself and this will get better next day

    • Paul Jun says:

      Absolutely.

      I actually find a hunger to write after not doing it for a whole day. I feel like my brain is filled with ideas that ready to burst out.

  6. Chris McCoy says:

    I’m on the opposite end of the scale. Easily distracted = too many ‘breaks’, even when I’m bursting with ideas to write about!

  7. Rajesh says:

    nice post i like it thanks

  8. Totally agree with the exercise. I just don’t feel the same if I haven’t done some form of exercise in the morning even if it’s just going for a little walk.

    I find walking away and doing something else for 15 minutes usually helps me too.

  9. There is a beautiful garden with a fountain, in the center of the offices where I work. I am a firm believer that occasional breaks, coffee, and hysterical YouTube videos, can truly keep an individual functional! Thanks for sharing the article! :)

    • Paul Jun says:

      Wow, Bethany.

      As I read the description I literally imagined it in my head, haha.

      Yes, I believe everyone should take a break occasionally. Even with a team of people working on an intense project, everyone should be mentally prepared and focused.

  10. Robet says:

    Nice little post there. I agree, sometimes you’ve just got to walk away from what you’re doing if you ever want to get anywhere. If we spend too long at the one thing we’ll just go crazy!

    • Paul Jun says:

      It’s also great to write down the ideas as you walk away. Sometimes they pop into mind when you aren’t facing a blank sheet on the computer screen.

  11. Bougie Girl says:

    I agree with the central theme of this post. It is important to take breaks from blogging, but at the same time when writing is your passion it can be difficult to step away from it. I have so much fun writing that some days, I literally have to force myself to step away from my laptop. Great post.

  12. Andru says:

    You are right, some times i feel very bad and think “quit blogging”. Exercise can save our day and our blogging carrier also.

  13. Eric Murphy says:

    taking break recharges our mind and also we get a lot of time to get new ideas then we can implement when we sit to write next time

  14. Break is a must for reviving our mind and also break is time when we should feel relaxed so that we can think of fresh and interesting ideas

  15. Luv these tips Paul and I posted on a similar topic on 1 of my blogs today. Let go. Take a break. All your best ideas usually hit you after exercising, or meditating, or pulling back from writing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  16. I find the cross-trainer to be a fantastic place to generate ideas (there’s not much else to do and I need to take my mind away from the pain..!). Unfortunately, I don’t carry a note pad when I’m at the gym so I have to keep repeating the idea to myself until I can get to somewhere I can write it down!

    I also find it’s good to recognise when you’re at your creative best – for me it’s the afternoon and evening, so my day always starts with an hour in the gym, followed by breakfast and then I’m usually ready to roll.

    Cheers,

    Martin.

    • Paul Jun says:

      That’s funny, Martin.

      My day usually starts out the same: gym, breakfast, gathering my thoughts, and writing if I feel the time is right.

      Cross-training is absolutely amazing. A lot of my exercise involves cross-training. Extremely effective, very very demanding on the body, but feels great.

      Glad to hear from you.

  17. Blogging is according to me contrary to the popular belief a very difficult job. You need to be patient, consistent and creative and doing it continuously can take its toll. I definitely think taking a break once in a while is a very very good idea.

    Or may be i just need a reason ;)

    • Paul Jun says:

      Definitely a difficult job, if not one of the most.

      Taking a break isn’t bad, but definitely finding your reason will motivate you to produce great work.

  18. Daniel says:

    Paul, I think a small break is not such a bad thing. And to be honest people should try break their day up a little, and not become glued to their chair(PC or laptop).

    As far as a longer break away from Blogging, that is something I would advice against. For some people getting back into the swing of things, it may not be such a problem. Though, others may find themselves unable to get their motivation for Blogging to return as it was previously.

  19. Sean Supplee says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I have had writers block and just taking a few short days or even just half the day to go out and enjoy life does wonders for when I get back. It shows in my up beat writing and I feel better while I am writing which I am sure my readers feel when they come to my site.

    Do yourself a favor take a break :)

  20. MsKatrina says:

    There are two things that can break my out of lethargy. Strong emotion such as laughter is one. The other is volunteering. Recognizing just how much I do have and giving back to my community is a great revitalizer.

    • Paul Jun says:

      That’s wonderful, MsKatrina.

      Those are two very powerful points, and both are very rewarding in many ways.

      Thank you for the insight.

  21. Veehcirra says:

    You have great pointers Paul, totally love them. I especially like the one about writing notes on napkins or basically any writing material at hand, sometimes ideas come up at the oddest of times and it is very important to hold on to them most times this leads to actually building up a fabulous post later,funny how we gain by just taking a break and letting go.

  22. Whatever the reason is, you should write down any ideas that come into your mind anytime, anywhere. Then it depends on you when you want to execute it in your blog.

  23. TV Rockstars says:

    Too much writing can lead to writing fatigue just like your body gets if you play basketball for example. So taking breaks is a must.