12 Signs You Should Take A Day Off from Writing

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As writers, we want to write every day. Sometimes, that’s just not possible, whether because of work or personal matters, but that doesn’t mean a few of us won’t try to write every day anyway.

I’ve been that dude who’s gotten work done on Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or any other big holiday or occasion you can recall, but even I admit that when you’re plugged in 365 days a year (or 366 this year), burnout can happen. Just because writing is your passion and life’s work doesn’t mean you don’t need a break every now and then. Here are some signs that it may be time for you to put down the pen and get out for some fresh air.

1. You’ve neglected virtually all other important things you need to do.
2. You’re out of fresh ideas and are giving yourself a headache trying to brainstorm.
3. You’re beginning to forget what your family looks like.
4. You begin hallucinating that the characters in your story are actually in the room with you.
5. You refresh your blog every two minutes to see if someone commented.
6. You refresh this blog every two minutes to see if someone commented.
7. Your handwriting devolves into a completely unintelligible mess and you can’t bend your fingers anymore.
8. Looking at your computer screen or page starts making you dizzy.
9. You can clearly see the imprint that your pen has left in your writing hand.
10. You’ve missed several meals in a row due to being “in the zone.”
11. You begin feeling trapped at your desk.
12. You’ve been doing so much Twitter promotion that you’re condensing all your ideas into 140 characters or less.

Now, clearly, not every one of these was meant seriously, but some really do capture what happens to people when they’ve spent too much time and energy writing. Think of your mind as a rechargeable battery: if you have it off the charger for too long, it goes dead. In writing, if you burn yourself out by pushing too hard, you’ll run out of fresh ideas and your perspective will be skewed.

If any of this has happened to you, you might consider going for a nice walk or seeing a movie. Your writing will still be there tomorrow. (But if #4 is happening to you, I’d call someone.)

About Joe

Joe is a writer; that should be perfectly evident to you by now. If, for some reason, it is not evident to you, you should probably contact Joe and tell him that he's not trying hard enough. Joe is an author and freelance writer from New York. He has a B.A. from Boston College and has blogged for a number of years. Joe released his debut novel in 2012, and also has penned a number of short stories.