Write Every Day? Take Time for Breaks, Too

It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” Gerald Brenan

Gerald Brenan and others who advocate writing every day have it right. One has to write regularly to be a writer. However, I think it equally important to take time away from writing on occasion. Taking time away may improve your writing.

That’s what I’ve been doing for a while, traveling south to spend time with family members and to enjoy again great Louisiana food. On Sunday, we experienced a particularly delightful brunch at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro in Lafayette (in the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that our oldest grandson is Executive Chef at Jolie’s). My pain perdu was so light and delicate that it fairly flew onto the fork, and I discovered in it bits of caramelized apples, pecans and andouille sausage to savor. Delicious!

Time spent with family is always precious. There’s an almost magical ability to resume from the point when we were last together, a smooth seamless continuation of our last conversations, despite the time spent apart since then.
It is grand to forget work, to focus completely on family and enjoy the company of loved ones. No telephones to interfere, no attention-demanding emails, no surfing the Internet.

But away from the computer, writers always seems to be working, even during family time or while dining in fine restaurants. I found myself thinking about work while driving along the interstate or just looking at the wetlands as we crossed the Atchafalaya Swamp. Article ideas kept popping into my head everywhere I went.

If you’re like me, you even compose sentences or whole paragraphs during times away from your everyday writing routine. I didn’t check my email while on this trip but I did pick up newspapers along the way, plus several magazines I’d not seen before.

I found two article ideas in the newspapers and magazines, another during a local radio broadcast we listened to in the car, and one germ of an idea evolved just by talking with Louisiana folks I met.

Not surprisingly, once I got back home I could hardly wait to turn on the computer and get to work. My break not only gave me priceless family time, it also gave me renewed interest in writing every day.

So except for planned breaks, I do write every day and I treasure my time at the computer. I also treasure the time when I’m not actually at the computer writing, but elsewhere generating ideas, composing sentences or paragraphs in my head or digging for needed research for articles.

And right now, I’m also treasuring the memory of that wonderful pain perdu I delighted in last week and the grandson who makes such delicious fare for us to enjoy.

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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