It’s that time of year. The time of year students and most employees get to take one giant exhale. It’s time for a break.
It’s Christmas or summer or spring break or a sabbatical, so you have extra time on your hands. What’s a young writer to do during school break? (or work!)
Well, you maximize the time and leverage it for pursuing what’s most important to you. That’s what you do.
Let’s break it down.
13 Ways Young Writers Can Maximize Their School Breaks
1. Work straight-up harder.
With the weight of school or work off your mind, you have the ability to pour more mental energy into your writing projects. You can spend more time and energy on brainstorming, outlining, editing, or writing because you won’t have the mental strain of your normal work.
2. Do some writing-related reading.
Breaks are perfect time for reading. Why not utilize this time to read some books on writing? Work your way through some new book about the writing craft and take notes. I promise you; it will invigorate your writing life!
3. Do some fun reading.
Fit in some pleasure reading too. Devour that book you’ve been dying to read. Jump into one of the new books you got for Christmas. Enjoy uninterrupted, delight-driven reading. And don’t forget that this is shaping your writing life too. Good writers are always good readers.
4. Take advantage of more flexible writing sprints on the YWW Community.
If you’re a member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and it’s a season like Christmas or summer, other students are on vacation too.
That means there are more people available for word sprints throughout the day. Depending on your time zone, you’ll almost always find someone else up for a sprint. Take advantage of this time to supercharge on your writing!
Not a member of the Young Writer’s Workshop yet? You can click here to learn more about it!
5. Take advantage of time with your family.
This is usually a season where you’re not the only one on vacation. Your parents and siblings or friends have it off too. Don’t isolate yourself from the community in the name of writing.
Maybe you could talk to your parents about taking more time for writing during this break but also balancing it with family time. Communication is key. If your parents understand where you’re coming from and agree with your choice, confusion and hurt feelings are less likely to happen.
6. Make a plan.
What do you want to get done on this break? Outline a new novel? Edit 5 chapters? Write two articles? Set concrete goals and create a plan to accomplish them.
7. Expect the plan to change.
As much as plans and schedules are helpful, they’re rarely reliable on a break. Don’t get frustrated when your family decides to watch your favorite Christmas movie or bake cookies when you were planning to write. Embrace the spontaneous and spectacular. People are more important than plans.
8. Work straight-up less.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from writing. If you want to spend your break with family, friends, reading, cooking, playing, sleeping, resting… do it. And don’t feel one bit guilty about it.
Obviously we’re not endorsing weeks and weeks or months and months of not writing, but a week is not going to kill your momentum. That said, if you’re using your break as an excuse for procrastinating, see point #1.
9. Brainstorm a new idea.
There’s something about being on vacation that changes the way you think. With less mental strain, I find I’m often more creative and enjoy playing with new ideas.
Leverage this time to explore some of those new ideas. Dabble with an article or story idea, outline a new potential book, write some scenes with a new character. But don’t put any pressure on yourself. Just play.
10. Use your extra time to bless others with your words.
You have a gift: writing. Use that gift to serve others. Write a deeply thoughtful Christmas card. Send someone an encouraging note. Write your grandparents a letter. Be generous with your time and your talents.
11. Do some research.
Research is always time-intensive and requires concentrated mental energy — which is not always easy to come by when you’re in school or working full-time.
Breaks are perfect times to do those more mentally laborious tasks. Spend an afternoon at the library. Involve your family and go visit some museums together. Schedule research in.
12. Nurture other creative hobbies.
Learn to play an instrument. Pursue photography. Draw a picture. Paint. Dance. Sing. Cook a new dish. Re-decorate your room. Sit down and listen to an entire album. Cultivate other hobbies that will nurture your creativity.
Vacations and holidays are wonderful gifts from God to rest and work as good stewards of our time. Maybe this season will be more about rest for you. Maybe it will be more about work. That’s something you need to decide for yourself. Talk to your family, evaluate your schedule, and plan accordingly.
13. Catch up on writing blog posts.
I know, the last few weeks before a break are always hectic. You’re trying to finish up all the last-minute tasks and chores. And so you may have missed some of our most recent blog posts over here at the Young Writer that are just what you need right now. Take some time to browse the content index and see what’s new.
Beware The 5 Vacation Dangers
But in everything, beware of the Vacation Dangers and how they can sabotage your writing this season. There are 5 of them. Let’s take a look:
You have a lot going on right now. You’re going back to school or work soon (you’re probably still thinking about what you have to do for school and work), you’ve got relational stress, there could be time, money, or spiritual stress. Everyone has the potential to be a giant stress ball.
And if you allow stress to creep into your writing life, your joy will tank. Writing will become a chore, something else you have to get done. It will be a burden, and that won’t be fun for anyone.
Putting false pressure on yourself to accomplish a self-made goal is also destructive to your writing life this season. There’s nothing wrong with goals and nothing wrong with challenging yourself, but self-imposed pressure (grounded in perfectionism) will squeeze the life out of you. Get rid of the pressure.
3. Competition (or, Pride)
Healthy competition is not bad, but if your goals are rooted in being better than someone else or being The Best, we have a problem. A better word for this is not competition but pride. And a prideful writer who’s seeking to accomplish goals for selfish gain will never maximize her vacation the way she should.
When you’re spending more time writing than usual, you’re particularly susceptible to Imposter Syndrome — that sneaky, slippery lie that says you’re not good enough to be a writer and you’re just faking it.
Banish that thought! Replace it with truth. You are a writer. You are improving your craft every time you write. You are a fast learner. Your words matter. The world needs your voice.
Whatever you do, don’t overwork yourself. Hitting burnout at Christmas is no fun for anybody — obviously not for you but also not for your parents, grandparents, spouse, or siblings.
Respect your body, your mind, and those around you by listening to their cues that it’s time to rest. (Check out this post to combat writer’s burnout)
Maximizing Your Schedule
When approached thoughtfully, breaks can be a tremendous opportunity to move ahead with your writing goals.
But they’re also great opportunities for rest! And you don’t want to find yourself careening to extremes.
The point of all this is to exercise balance. Work hard but also rest hard. Listen to your community. Pray. Pay attention. Be strategic about your breaks but don’t be afraid to enjoy them.
So, writers, from all of us at the Young Writer, enjoy your break.
2 replies added
Thanks so much for writing this post; I wasn’t sure how I was going to spend my Xmas break. These are great ideas! 😀
Thank you so much. This is wonderful.