Sunday, May 15, 2016

Breaks Are Good

Breaks are good. They help provide perspective, which is needed most when we don't realize it, when we're so invested in our process that we can't see beyond it. Breaks let us breathe and consider the problem in different ways.

I didn't write yesterday. It felt weird, but life kept me from sitting down and doing work. My brain didn't get them memo and kept trying to solve puzzles. It worked through various scenarios that my fingers could try the next time I was at the keyboard.

So today's project involves rearranging the first five chapters of my novel. The goal is to mix my various POV characters up a bit, have them appear at different times. Will this have a profound effect? Maybe, maybe not, but it can't hurt to try.

Point is, if I'd kept plowing through the work like a bulldozer, I'm not sure I'd have even thought of such an alternative. Not quickly, anyway. Which leads to an interesting paradox: Taking breaks can improve efficiency.

I forget this all the time and keep going. My mind doesn't want to stop. It's so invested in the process that it just keeps grinding the ol' gears. The hard part, and I haven't figured out how to do this, is getting myself to remember that resting and contemplating is a crucial part of the process.

To wreck another metaphor, you plot a course. It feels like you're going in the right direction, but you can't be sure. So you pull over to the side of the road, figure out where you are and where you want to be, and make any necessary adjustments.

You can't make those adjustments if you just keep going. And if you never pause to figure out where you are, who knows where you'll end up?

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