There comes a point in every adventure where the hero is exhausted, beaten down, and can’t take anymore; when evil has taken a hard hit and needs time to regroup; when the reader/watcher/gamer can’t take anymore action without falling off the edge of the seat; and when the writer is about to go out of his/her mind.
I was totally at that point earlier today.
I haven’t been writing very well for the past three days and no matter how long I sit at my computer, tapping away at the keys and forcing myself to write word after word, I still haven’t made any good progress. Sheer stubbornness and determination have kept me going up till this point, but now I had to admit that it isn’t enough.
There comes a point in every adventure where everyone just needs a break.
That time has come for me.
I started by giving my main character, the story’s narrator, a break from telling the story. I popped her off somewhere quiet and just wrote about her having a good time, feeling the sunshine and the fresh air on her face and not worrying about the world she has to save. I wrote a couple pages of that till I was satisfied that she would be well rested next time I had to write, and then left her to her own devices so that I could escape on my own break.
I escaped outside. It had rained earlier this morning and the world was feeling fresh and renewed, clean and bright and very inviting. I went on a short nature walk, enjoying the still-damp forest for a while, and as I breathed in the moist air, I felt my own body becoming fresh and renewed. It was a good feeling. And it made me realize that the entire reason I was having trouble writing was because I wasn’t paying enough attention to feelings.
But it also made me realize the importance of taking a break every once in a while. Every good adventure has a break at some point. Some are long, noticeable breaks, like getting help at a healer’s house, and others are simpler, like a quiet, evil-free night around a campfire. But they give the heroes/adventurers a much-needed break and allow them to recover their strength before the next challenge comes.
They also give us a break, as a reader/watcher/gamer. I watched a video a long time ago that pointed out that a story is actually more exciting when there are lulls and breaks in the plot, which give the reader/watcher/gamer time to catch their breath before introducing the next surprise. Too much action can tire you out and ultimately make the story boring.
In a lot of aspects of life, though, we’re all about going. Constantly doing something, being entertained by something, never stopping to catch our breaths because there’s always more to do. It can make for an exciting life or a tiring one, and I usually find a busy life more tiring than anything else.
So when you’re on an adventure, no matter what kind of adventure it may be, pay attention to the breaks, and take one if you have to. Just stop, stand still, admire the view, and appreciate the one short moment of quiet that you have. Catch your breath and be refreshed so that you’ll have the strength and energy to approach the next challenge. Don’t let your adventure tire you out. Let it fill you up.
What’s your favourite way to take a break?
May all your breaks, no matter how short, be as refreshing as a morning’s rain.