This blog post is kind of self-serving, but it has a purpose, so bear with me, please?
Last week, I had a random day and a half off from work. It was kind of nice, but instead of spending that time writing, you want to know what I did? I went and volunteered at my local animal shelter. You see, my local shelter has been having some problems lately (read more here) and can use the support.
And actually, it's a good thing. Breaks are very important when it comes to writing, although a lot of times it doesn't seem like it. I'm sure everyone feels that guilt of I-know-I-should-be-writing-right-now, but breaks are healthy. They help you take a moment and think about what you're doing. Breaks can help you when you lose focus, making you step back and look at the bigger picture. It can help you see if you're going the wrong direction. Maybe if that scene you're fretting over and having problems with may not be as important as you thought it was.
I was very stuck on my own WIP, and even though I was trying very hard to write on it, I couldn't get anywhere. After my break, it allowed me to come back and crack the whip and actually get some work done.
It can also be helpful in other ways - unexpected ones. I found myself in the company of a cat that had the most beautiful eyes. I kept trying to come up with the correct way to describe them if I'd been writing them. There are other ways pets can be helpful. Just read my lovely friend Sarah's blog post here. You can get a lot out of a simple break.
And not only that, but you can be helping out. I spent it volunteering at an animal shelter, but you can volunteer anywhere. It's a good way to get your mind off things while your subconscious works on all those problems you were having. It's the proverbial "two birds with one stone" thing.
So the next time you get stuck and frustrated, do something else. Volunteer. Do the dishes. Whatever you need to do to get your mind off things.
P.S. I feel really bad about last week and not posting more, so I'm going to try to do a post a day this week. That is the goal, at least.