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Monday, April 1

It's Okay to Take a Break From Writing (or Blogging)

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

It's been pretty hectic at the Hardy household the last few months. Good hectic, but there's been a lot on my plate and I've had to let a few things slide to keep from losing my mind. This morning I realized something.

This time last year, I would have been killing myself to keep up.

Like many others, I've been trying hard to balance writing, blogging, and living. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to work less, and I'm actually doing it (mostly). I'm fairly shocked that I've been able to let Twitter go for a few weeks, run archive posts, and even skip one or two Saturday diagnostic posts. Don't get me wrong, it's been hard, and I feel guilty about it, but I had to do it.

I see a lot of writers push themselves just as hard, if not harder. They also feel guilty if they're not blogging every day, not tweeting, not hitting 10K words a day, not making whatever goal they feel they should be making. It's a ton of stress.

Stop stressing yourself out.

It's okay to take breaks. It's okay to write at your own pace if you're not on a deadline. In fact, it's good to know your own pace so you can meet those deadlines when you need to and make sure you have enough time to get things done.

It's also okay to cut back when you need to. It's hard, I know, but burning yourself out isn't going to get you where you want to be. If you're killing yourself to maintain a certain pace or productivity level, you won't last long. Even worse, your work will suffer.

And you know what? Every time I've had to cut back or take a break on the blog, everyone has been supportive and understanding, so your readers aren't going to abandon you because you needed a few weeks off. Let them know, then do what you gotta do.

It seems a little wacky to do a blog post saying it's okay to take a break, but I think we need to be reminded of that from time to time. I know I do. There's so much pressure to do out there, that it's way too easy to forget that doesn't mean do it all.

Plus, here's a little secret...everyone else is so busy trying to do it all, that most of them won't even notice if you're slacking a bit. Some might even appreciate the break so they can get caught up, too.

I've got my fingers crossed to get caught up this week, but I'm frequently overly optimistic about what I can do in five days, so we'll see.

What kind of pressures are you under? When was the last time you took a break? (And do you need one now?)