By- Tom Kubrak
Put… the… pen… down. Nooo don’t do it- HEY- Yea you. Take a break. Relax… and enjoy YOUR DAY OFF.
A few times I’ve met writers who have said they’ve been working on a book or some writing project for 10 or 15 years. Having not been writing for very long, but already feeling confident about my writing, it made me think…
As a writer who hasn’t had a book published, and is now 6 months into his first book(which hasn’t been easy), am I going to be writing this for the next 15 years?
I told myself that I can’t let that happen. I just have too many books, screenplays, and plays I want to write(A Common problem for most writers), but how am I going to do this?
Well, when I started taking writing seriously at 21 I went on a self-discovery journey that had me putting myself through many rigorous challenges to my mind and body. One thing I learned throughout that journey was I need to rest. In other words “I’m not Superman!”
So, I implemented a strategy, that no matter what came up in my life, writing or business, that I would take one day off from all my writing, business ventures and odd jobs once a week, no matter what.
Even if it was at the expense of one of those things I would adhere to the rule. I do have to say though, I missed out on many things in all 3 of those categories and have been put in some pretty tough situations(which is for another story). But to this day I still have no regrets in making that decision. It’s kept me grounded and I haven’t experienced any burn outs since then.
For me I can go about 6-8 months without taking a break. I know this because it’s happened to me 3 times. Each time, worse than the last. Everyone is different though and can go longer or shorter than others. Anyway, somewhere around that 6 month mark I crash. My brain and body shut down. I lose my passion and my drive. I also usually fall into a scary depression. These burn outs aren’t for a day or even a week either. These burn-outs, caused by working incessantly for months on end, last a month or two until I finally get productive and produce the things I want again.
Looking back at it, those 6 months of working myself half-to-death just wasn’t worth it.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
Could you imagine a car driving for a week straight without stopping? Well…if you can good for you, but cars can’t usually get anywhere near 12 hours on a full tank of gas. Of course, we are humans, but how long can you go without stopping? The cost of driving a car of years without heading to the repair shop can cost you thousands of dollars. What is it for a human? That depends on the person I guess, but from experience, it can be devastating.
FIXING THE PROBLEM
Try implementing this strategy in your life. It may be hard to resist at first. But no matter what, take a day off. Maybe get an accountability partner for it. See if it makes a difference in your creative output.
Writers…if you want to finish the book we have to be consistent. We can’t afford a long hiatus like that. Things in life happen that are sometimes out of our control, but what we can control, is our decisions and our actions; to avoid getting stuck on projects for years.
We have the power to complete what we set out to do.
By- Tom Kubrak
IG & TWTR @tomkubrak