2020 has become the strangest year. In January we were all ready to kick off a new decade and make the next 10 years better than the last. By March, we were all in lockdown, where it felt like the month lasted 10 years.
Times changed quickly, and although we’re now home with more time on our hands, the ability to get anything productive done has become elusive.
Even if your routine hasn’t changed drastically, you’re likely still finding it hard to stick to, and these reasons could be why…
3 Signs You Need To Take A Break
1. You’re Overwhelmed
Along with social distancing, overwhelmed needs to be the word of the year.
You might not be commuting to work, dealing with office distractions, doing the school run or carting kids to different appointments or activities, but you still have responsibilities.
If you’ve got a partner/family, you’re spending more time together than ever (which is not always as good as it sounds). If you’ve got school-aged kids, you’re now homeschooling and having medical/special needs appointments online. If you’ve got pets, the dog is getting more attention than ever (and loving it), and the cat is wondering why everyone is in its house all the time.
Everything is overwhelming, happening in cramped quarters, and all your responsibilities have converged into a hot mess.
Your work commitments, kid commitments, new career as a teacher, household chores, and writing are now one endless to-do list. It’s more than enough to overwhelm the most organized person, and there’s no way you’re getting anything done without having to take a break from something.
It won’t be work if you’re lucky enough to have a paying job. It won’t be the kids or their education, which now falls to you. And you can only get away with avoiding the laundry for so long. That leaves writing, or at least as much writing as you were doing. It’s a tough choice, but so is everything else in these overwhelming times.
2. Your Mental Health Is Suffering
Some writers find it easy to write when times are tough, others curl up into a ball, unable to go near the keyboard. If you can’t switch off or fall asleep without running everything you did or didn’t do that day through your head, you’ll soon realize you can’t work like that forever.
Sure, you might give yourself a day to “get over it”, or to binge all the food and mindless TV that you can (raises hand), but we all know you’ll need more of those days the longer the problem goes on, and the deeper it gets.
If your mental health is suffering, it’s time to get some help, talk it out with someone you trust or a professional hotline, and take a break.
3. There’s Little Or No Passion For Your Writing
Not every WIP is inspiring all the way through, especially when you’re in double-digit draft numbers with no final draft in sight.
There are also days when you won’t want to write or the lure of Netflix is greater than the need to edit your next chapter. But when no amount of easing into it, rising early, timed writing sprints, or 500 word count goals snaps you back to your inspired self, it’s time to consider the bigger picture.
Reassess things, work out what’s stopping you from writing, and take a break until you miss word-smithing so much your passion reignites. It might just be what you need.
Why I’m Changing My Blog Schedule
If you’ve been experiencing these 3 signs, you are not alone. I’m right there too and discovering quickly that you can only push through for so long.
If you’ve been reading my blog for the last few months, you’ll know my dad died in December, and only three days after that I had to put my grieving on hold to deal with publishing issues that were out of my control. I made the choice to leave my small press contract, which meant a book that’d been waiting a year to be released (and even longer for me personally), was now going to have to be published by me.
I had a matter of weeks to learn how to self-publish, and during this time, I continued to post my weekly blog posts and daily social media posts. I pushed things aside, buried them deep down, and kept going.
You can’t do that forever, and when that unprocessed baggage gets saddled with an uncertain world, new responsibilities, more worry and less time, something has to give.
I debated putting my blog on a break, but I’m worried if I do that, I won’t start writing it again, which isn’t what I want. When I started blogging three years ago, I wasn’t published or trying to market a book. I am now. I also have a second book that needs to be ready for a July release and a third and fourth book in the same series that need finished drafts.
Four months ago, the world was normal and my writing routine and getting those things done filled most of my day. That isn’t the case anymore.
I know I’m not the only one struggling to be creative, trying to balance new responsibilities, or grieving, and I wanted to be better than those things. I wanted to keep doing it all, but I can’t, and my solution is to take a break where I can get it and to change my blog schedule.
A new blog will now be posted every two weeks instead of weekly, and I’ll be sending out my newsletter every second month instead of monthly. I hope you understand why I’ve made these choices, and that they’ll be enough to help me get on top of things going forward.
It’s not easy to admit when everything has become too much, but if you need a break or to rearrange things for a while, do it. It’s the best change you can make, and sometimes the only thing you can control.
— K.M. Allan