Life Lesson: Breaks are Key to Productivity

Now here’s something interesting about the way I write, discovered this very afternoon.

I have been struggling with a piece that I’m working on, an article about a friend of mine who was murdered. I’ve been working on it for months, but only a bit at a time because it’s a pretty harrowing topic. I recently made some big progress with it and so was working on editing it down today. Honing it. Figuring out exactly what I am trying to get across with this.

This morning I acted like a skittish colt. Butt in, then out, of chair. Dicking around on Facebook. Lacking focus.

This afternoon I had to run to my son’s school as I was today’s mystery reader. I took that break and then came back and couldn’t face my chair again. I thought about dinner. I’ve been thinking all day about making pasta. My husband makes a mean Puttanesca. He learned it way before I came onto the scene. And I remember being seriously impressed when he first made me dinner. What can this man not do if he can cook a pasta sauce like this?

After 15 years together, I recently learned how to make his Puttanesca. (And, no, mine isn’t quite as good as his.) So after I got back from the school I started chopping olives and red bell peppers, crushing garlic and something rushed over me. A rhythm. A feeling of comfort. A reminder that I’m a woman, a mom, a wife making making dinner for my family. I’m alive to make this dinner. And I’m alive to tell my friend’s story. I set the sauce on simmer and marched back up to my office, ready to re-engage. And I did, with great focus and determination.

That’s a big thing for we writers to remember. Sometimes a well-timed break, that contains just enough of a step back to remind us of who we are and why we’re doing this is the only thing you need to do to get back on your game.


My Pasta Sauce



Categories: Life Lesson, Writing Process

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