I’m on a break right now. I don’t mean vacation or idleness, but I stepped away for a bit from one of my passion projects. Experience is the best teacher, and I’m seeing now how important it is to step away temporarily.
For the past six months, I’ve been working on my soon to be published book. It’s my first book, so it’s all new territory for me. More than just outlining and writing the content, I’ve been researching publishing options, designing covers, and gobbling up anything I can find on marketing and distribution.
Every step of it has been fun. I’ve enjoyed the behind the scenes work just as much as the writing.
Just recently I got to the exciting (and terrifying) step of passing the book into someone else’s hands for yet another layer of editing. With the book off my desk, I determined to take this time as a break. It wasn’t until taking a break that I realized how good it felt to turn down the intensity and how important breaks are to the creative process.
Passion and obsession can look a lot alike.
In the thick of it, passion and obsession can look alike. While there’s value to single minded determination and focus, if that isn’t balanced with occasional intentional breaks, it’s no longer a passion, it’s an obsession. Instead, let the natural ebb and flow of forces do their job.
During my break, my creative batteries are re-charging. It’s like resting tired muscles after running a race. I know when I get my book back and I look at it after some distance, I’ll see it with fresh eyes. That also means tuning into fresh inspirations. Without a break, I wouldn’t gain that new perspective.
An intentional break is delicious.
There’s no guilt, and no feeling of “I should be doing more”. I purposely intended this time to be separate and distinct from writing the book. To me, that’s a different feeling than absentmindedly hitting the snooze on the alarm or fretting days away in indecision.
There will be a time to work on the book again, and that time will come soon, but for now, my purpose it to NOT work on the book.
Schedule yourself a break from your passion project before burnout and fatigue do it for you.
Plenty of you have lived in a northern climate with snowy winters. You know what happens when you gun the gas in an attempt to get your car out of a snow bank: the wheels keep spinning but you don’t make any forward progress. You don’t get the car unstuck until you back off and then very gently and purposefully give it a little back and forth on the gas.
That’s the key. Choosing to take a break. Choosing to take your foot off the gas as a way to move forward versus gunning it and spinning your wheels.
Whatever it is you’re creating in your life, you’ll enjoy it more and have a better outcome if you step back once in a while. Re-charge your batteries. Take a look at your project from a new perspective. Sometimes your foot is heavy on the gas pedal, and just as importantly, sometimes you lift your foot up. Enjoy the break.
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