Why You Need to Take a Vacation from Your World
As writers and other creative types, we spend a lot of time inside our own heads. That’s where we do our best work, after all. Our minds are constantly employed; we spend copious amounts of energy pondering ideas, creating unique characters, stories, and worlds—not to mention putting it all on paper. It’s not altogether surprising that writers are often accused of “living in a fantasy world.” Let’s be honest; sometimes we kind of do.
The time we spend inside our own worlds isn’t a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s our job. The problem is, writers sometimes find it much more difficult to take time off than people who work other sorts of jobs. For many of us, writing is not only our job, it’s our obsession.
It turns out that a lot of writers are prone to be workaholics. We simply don’t know how to take time off. And I don’t just mean taking time off from sitting at our desks, staring at our blinking cursers. I mean taking a vacation from that world.
If you’re anything like me, you demand a lot from yourself. If you didn’t write a thousand words today, you’re a lazy slacker who needs to cut Pinterest from your diet for a week until you catch up and meet all your goals. (Okay, I’m not that bad, but you get the picture.) Writers—serious ones—tend to set standards and self-imposed deadlines.
There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, keeping yourself on track is important. It’s your job. But as creative types, we can be very self-critical and leave little margin in our self-imposed schedules. We make ourselves feel guilty for taking time off. We even feel guilty for wanting or needing that time—even if our creative well is running dry. Instead, we just get frustrated.
Despite the toll it takes on our energy and brainpower, it’s super easy for us to convince ourselves that we don’t actually need to take vacations; that if we just work harder, things will eventually fall together. But the fact is, you do need that time. Time away from your work—whatever it may be—will help you do better work. It’s crazy, but it’s true.