Play in Blues

How does a holiday break affect your writing?

That was one of my concerns when I left for Sweden in Easter. There I faced two weeks without writing on my novel. Two weeks with my thoughts drifting further away from my fictional friends.

On my return I approached my desk that first Monday morning with trepidation. A sprawling mess of papers lay scattered across its surface and on these were our passports, tickets,my jewellery. With a nudge I cleared a space for my Ipad and keyboard.

stone in seaI felt unprepared to start; my memory hazy and mentally timings were out of kilter. Baby steps, I told myself. Baby steps. I therefore picked up my tablet and started to read the last chapters of my first draft, familiarising myself with the story and its characters.

Until now I’ve tried not to reread too often what I’ve written, concerned that I  would become excessively critical and too keen to do a major rewrite early on. I feared my flow would be be halted.

My fears were groundless.

After happily reacquainting myself with the story, I studied my notes on Scrivener’s Corkboard and noted which section I intended to tackle next. I was  glad for the side notes I’d made previously, they proved very helpful.

To revisit my friends in the book I read through the character notes I have made in my notebook, once again thankful that they were so complete and detailed.

By now my mind was once again buzzing with the book, the characters started to whisper their words, the story painted in my mind.

benchStill, I was not quite ready. I decided to wait until the following day. Tuesday morning, with all travel paraphernalia cleared away, I read the notations I had made during my holiday. Yes, I know, I lied! Strictly speaking I wrote a few pages of notes now and then.

Finally with the tablet and keyboard up, I was set. I had to laugh at my own ridiculous state. My nerves jingled as I faced the blank screen. I flexed my fingers, relaxed my neck back and forth. Then I took the plunge. And typed.

A few sentences in I was thoroughly enjoying revisiting my book and letting my creative spirit flow.

Often you read about writers being worried about taking a break.

Does it really cause such difficulties?

Don’t writers, as people in every profession, need a holiday?

An opportunity to recharge their creative energies?

I really would like to read your opinions about this; whatever your profession.

Until then, hope you enjoy the video – writing the title of the post brought it to mind. This song and many other ‘80s pop songs got me through all my school exams:-)

“If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.”

Bertrand Russell

Current Word Count on first draft of my novel: 62,358


    1. Pat, it’s lovely you’ve come across my post from my early days of blogging! 😀 Sometimes we just don’t notice we need a break and yeah, glad you found inspiration from your time away for poetry. 😀 As for too many photos, modern day hazard of non-film cameras when they used to cost so much to develop. I always promise I’ll sort my photos out on my computer ..but never seem to get round to it!

  1. Barbara

    Annika,Thank you for your words on getting back into the groove. Watched the video too!
    Took me back to the 80’s and all the fascinating fashion choices. I think this style is on its way back! Glad I kept those big earrings and leggings….but I digress.
    You have over 62,000 words now dear author! Wow!!!! I am very impressed!
    You did deserve a break! Well done 😊
    Glad you are back in the groove and finding your story line once again.

    1. Great to hear someone else kept their big earrings – they were great weren’t they! Don’t forget the wonders of the shoulder pads in the blouses! Glad you liked the video; I do think Madonna was best in those years. Thank your for your kind words, lovely to be back working and sorted where I’m heading.

  2. Mike

    Never be afraid to take a break – even a two week one. It always seems to recharge the batteries and give you a new lease of life, ready to plunge back into the fray.

    Love the photos by the way – and you can’t beat the early to mid eighties songs. Very upbeat and positive – as we seemed to be about the future at the time. Unfortunately it hasn’t quite turned out like that – but we can keep hoping.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. No, I won’t be afraid of taking a break again – it really has made a huge difference to myself and my writing. Glad you liked the photos. The first one is of the Smokey Mountains, USA, the second from Swedish seas and the wooden bench is from Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg. One of my favourite airports resembling an art museum at times.

  3. Mirja

    Whatever profession / career you follow in life it is definately very
    important to take total breaks. To avoid going stale, getting stuck in
    one grove, to lose the joy of just doing.
    Great to have you back, all re-charged with energy and ideas.
    I noticed your word count and am so impressed! First draft not too far off!?
    Keep listening to the ‘whispering’.

    1. Thank you Mirja, I’ll keep listening to the ‘whispering’ and remain open to new ideas now as I’m rested. I just wish so they wouldn’t come to me in the middle of the night! Yes, it’s easy to get stale and lose that fresh crisp writing, so a break now and then is vital. Just to do something different – whatever it is. The first draft is still a bit to go but the end I feel is now in sight as well over half way.

  4. This is so true. The longer we’re away from our job, blog, writing we start to question whether we will be able to do it again. Usually, about ten minutes in, we feel that we’ve never been away!
    Glad you’re back in the groove. 🙂

    1. Thank you Dorne, it feels good being back in the groove! How true that we are often plagued by initial self-doubt after some time away but yes, very quickly things are back to normal working pace. It’s important to make sure we don’t forgot those lovely holiday memories too fast nor let the peaceful inner calm become the pre-break frazzled self!

  5. Sammy

    Glad that you managed to get back into the groove of writing Annika! I think that everyone needs a break now and then and it seems like yours did you good! You must be doing pretty well on your book now as well.

    1. Thank you Sammy. In the 24/7 culture of modern life we often forget the importance of just relaxing, to dare stop and in those two weeks my mind stopped spinning. Lovely. The break did me the world of good – I came home totally rejuvenated. Thanks, yes, the book seems to be coming on very well. I can’t quite believe it at times!

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