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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How I know it's time to take a break:

I've been writing with the computer unplugged, lately. I write until I am down to about 20% of battery, sometimes less, and then I realize, well, that's it, then. Ought to go run or take a yoga class or a shower or something productive to recharge, while my computer does the same.

The other prompt for break-time is when it hits me that what I have achieved so far in the current draft is the dawning realization that this is not working, and a new draft must be started from page one.

At that point I tend to put on loud music and sing along even louder; make a fresh pot of tea, and sometimes banana muffins or, if I am really tossing more than 25 pages, something stronger. Like cookies. Or a glass of Bourbon. Maybe Janis Joplin.

The other way I know it's time to take a break is if it is time to pick up a kid from someplace.

In that circumstance I generally skip the making of the tea, etc., but not necessarily the singing. Which sometimes scares the neighbors in the elevator, but it's New York. I will not be the weirdest person they encounter that day.

I tend to WANT to take a break when it hits me that I have no earthly idea what to write next, but since that is an experience I have multiple times per minute, at least during the first maybe 20 drafts of a book, I try very hard to resist it.

Some days I think I would be very good at sluggery, and must rage against the temptation toward it.

When do you take a break? What do you do for it?

Rachel Vail

1 comment:

  1. I water. I have a big garden. Something always needs watering. And then once I'm outside, I see a weed that needs to be pulled, and then another. Weeding is actually very good for break time because editing is a whole heck of a lot like it, and as I toss a whole batch of weeds into the green compost can, I think, well, so much for that. Usually by then I'm in a better place to get back to it. But I really like your idea, Rachel, of working until the computer stops working.