Saturday, June 7, 2008

Taking a break: the Pros

A Vacation View

Creative people often never want to take a vacation. Or take a vacation. Or if they do take a vacation, they make certain to drag along the work. But leaving the work behind and going on vacation or even taking a break of time away from creating has some gifts and benefits.

Some of these include: Gaining a perspective on the w.i.p. When we are always working, any ounce, any hope, any hint of objectivity is often lost. Getting away from it can refresh and renew our editing ability. Doing something completely different (i.e. a true vacation) enhances this ability.

Refilling the Well: When we're always working, we're always drawing from the well of our creativity. It can run dry. Taking a break helps refill the well. Having new experiences away from home can stimulate the creative process.

But the main thing that I noticed when I was returning from a week's vacation (having gone to my niece's graduation) was a renewal of my passion for my writing. I didn't expect to miss it so much and had forgotten how writing is my true life's passion. I wanted and needed to write by the end of the vacation--so much so that I ended up writing longhand in a notebook in the airports coming home! I returned to work with renewed enthusiasm and optimism.

Do you know of any other benefits of taking a break? Anything you've noticed during/after a vacation about your creative process?

Next: the cons.


Dave King said...

Hi Conda,
You might have meant this post for me. I am the world's worst at taking a break - especially from writing. Whatever I'm doing, wherever I am, I have at least a pen and something to write on about my person. The most I manage is to switch from one creative passion to another (besides writing I have painting and photography), but as they tend to be always bubbling along side by side, it's not really a break.
When I have been forced to take a total break, for whatever reason, the most noticeable effect has been a reassessment of the work done earlier - which underlines your point, I think. I need to take short breaks more frequently.

Jim Murdoch said...

I'm a writer in the same way that I'm a man. I can't take a vacation from being a man – even though I sometimes wish I could – any more than I can take a vacation from being a writer. I lug that part of me wherever I go like a tortoise with his shell. Writing is not something I do, it's who I am. If I'm not writing, or at least thinking about writing or looking for things to write about, then I'm not being me. Like I wrote once: "Writers don’t have real lives, they have ongoing research."

Swubird said...


What plagues my vacations is that I can't help thinking about writing projects. I try to relax and clear my mind, but as soon as I am away from my computer, my mind becomes flooded with creative thoughts. Then if I don't write them down immediately, I forget them before I get home. It's frustrating.

Do you have this same problem?

Happy trails

Conda Douglas said...

Hey Dave,

Good points and interesting about changing "creative work." I've noticed that when I even change styles of writing I return somewhat able to edit a previous piece.

Thanks for commenting!

Conda Douglas said...


Too true! I don't think any real writer ever turns off. Same is true of artists--my dad lugged a sketchpad and cameras everywhere so he "wouldn't miss anything."

Conda Douglas said...


I always take a notebook with me everywhere, just like my dad had to take something to capture images--I need something to capture words! (Or like you, I lose them somewhere along the way.)

Swubird said...


If you are interested, I just posted an article about fibromyalgia and the new drug Lyrica on my site.

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks Swu, for the link--I'll be sure to check it out. As an exercise instructor and personal trainer, I'm very interested.

The Muse said...

I've been taking breaks a lot since summer started a couple of weeks ago. I love vacations--even if they are only little trips to our own local lake.

I do always feel refreshed and full of ideas. Not just for writing though. Getting away helps me get to doing things around the house, my little "projects", and working on some photo albums I've been neglecting.

Take care!

Conda Douglas said...

Muse--you have an excellent point about little breaks--I believe they can be better than big vacations, for reasons I'll post next!