Take Breaks to Improve Your Writing

I used to think that the best way to get the most writing done was to sit and go on a non-stop writing binge until my eyeballs popped out and I collapsed.

Sometimes, when the muses are with us, this is how it must be done. However, this is not sustainable if we want to create a long-term daily writing routine.

I’ve been reading a book called Fast Focus by Damon Zahariades. It’s a quick and painfully simple guide to avoid distraction. One of the best things you can do is take breaks. Believe it or not, getting away from your draft at intervals will increase your concentration, not break it.

Some people use the Pomodoro technique, which uses 25-minute intervals. For me, this is too often. Instead, I use 1-2 hour intervals, with a 20 minute to 30-minute break in between.

12 break time ideas for writers:

  1. Do chores like laundry or dishes (yes, it’s actually relaxing and gives you time to daydream)
  2. Meditate
  3. Spend time with a pet
  4. Make a meal or indulge in a beverage or chocolate
  5. Exercise – burpees, yoga, a run around the block
  6. Power nap
  7. Listen to your favorite music or a podcast
  8. Scroll through Pinterest to create an idea board for your WIP
  9. Call a friend or family member for a chat (writers need to talk to real people too)
  10. Watch a TED talk or other video
  11. Journal or doodle
  12. Go outside for a walk
  13. Play a video game

I used to wake up, go straight for coffee without washing my face, and force myself to sit for at least 4 hours straight. By the time I was done, my brain was foggy, my back ached, and I was a grouch.

Since changing my routine, I’ve discovered that taking more breaks didn’t just make me feel more focused and productive, I also didn’t feel so mentally and physically drained at the end of the day.

Happy Writing!


What is your writing routine like?

What’s your favorite way to take a break?