Writing on a Full Tank

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

My well-being tank is full. A week away with family has done it for me. And now I’m eager to be back at work. Likewise, writers need to take regular breaks to recharge. Writing on a full tank increases the quality of your work.

You might not identify what precipitated this feeling consciously, but you’re aware of heightened clarity of mind. Your enthusiasm returns, and your general outlook is more positive. Your writing goes more smoothly; the right words pop in your mind when you need them. Those times of renewed energy when creativity flows that you wish would last forever. Employers saw the positive results when companies began to provide paid vacation time for their employees. They had discovered workers returned to work refreshed and more productive. And they were happier employees.

It’s hard to ignore the mounds of research and examples, going back to the seventh day of creation in Genesis, that park-photography4confirm the need for routinely taking a break from our labors. Few of us can take a week off very often, but occasionally stepping back for short breaks is the best way to increase forward progress. Sure, we carve out time for exercise to care for ourselves physically. We set aside time for daily Bible study and prayer to care for our spiritual growth, and we try to get enough sleep to give ourselves mental and physical rest. But these aren’t the kinds of stepping away from routine that recharge our spirits. The getaways where we commune with God, where our sense of well-being is renewed. These kinds of breaks are as individual as we are. Try a few or all on the following list and see which produce the greatest results for you:

  • Spend an afternoon in a beautiful park or arboretum, taking only your Bible with you. Let your five senses take in your surroundings and God’s quiet voice.
  • Take an hour at a spa or recreate the atmosphere at home with scented candles and soothing music, soft towels.
  • Watch an inspiring movie.
  • Visit a local history museum.
  • Play with your children and grandchildren. Shower them with your love and affirmations.
  • Get a sitter and spend a quiet day in a favorite, restful place away from diapers, dishes, laundry, and all electronic input.
  • Visit homebound members of your church. Listen to their stories.
  • Participate in a favorite activity away from your normal daily routine and responsibilities.
  • Do something new and different.

Give yourself permission to take regular well-being breaks so you can be writing on a full tank more consistently. After a few months of experimentation, look back and record which kinds of breaks best re-energized your spirit. Don’t assume you already know; you might be surprised. Perhaps you’ll find there are several you can rotate in the future. Or maybe some are more effective at certain times of the year. Plan accordingly. The point is to make regular breaks to refresh your spirit a part of your normal routine.

What kinds of breaks can you add to the list? When was the last time you took a break to purposefully re-energize your spirit? Are you writing on a full tank now?

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