by Bryan Patrick Avery
I’ve been (fortunately) under contract for one boom or another almost continually for the past few years. The result is 13 published books with seven more on the way.
It hasn’t been easy. There have been late nights and early mornings and days when I wasn’t sure the right words would come. In times like those. I’ve found it helpful to retreat.
Not quit, mind you, just retreat a little bit. It gives me time to reflect and regroup and I always come back to the work at hand fresher and with more enthusiasm. This month, I’d like to share a few ways I retreat when I need a break.
1. Take a walk.
One of my favorite things to do when I need a break is take a walk. A long walk through the neighborhood gives me the chance to clear my head, work through a story problem, or brainstorm for new ideas. My walking isn’t limited to the outdoors. I’m often found pacing the halls of my home between writing sprints to clear my head and recharge.
2. Do something different.
Of course, not everything can be fixed with a walk. Sometimes, we need a more substantial break. When I do, I make an effort to work on something different. When I was struggling with a mystery project, I took a break and worked on a poetry collection. That break helped me move my poetry collection forward and, when I returned to the mystery, I was reinvigorated and ready to work.
3. Do something very different.
Sometimes, you might need a break from writing altogether. When I do, I turn to other pursuits that make me happy. I practice guitar, binge watch British mysteries, or peruse my collection of art books for inspiration. I know my break is over when I get the urge to jump back into my writing project.
4. Take a class.
I mentioned to a group recently that one of the things I do to keep my enthusiasm and energy up take writing classes and attend conferences. Being around (even virtually) fellow creatives helps me stay on track with my own writing and I never fail to pick up an idea or two. These are often the most helpful breaks for me.
5. Do nothing.
My mother used to give me this advice: “When you’re not sure what to do, do nothing.”
That can be dangerous if you’re on the freeway and unsure of what exit to take, but for creatives it is often the perfect solution. Not forcing your way through a story and, instead, taking a step back allows your mind and spirit to guide you. It’s a great path to inspiration. Meditating, simply lying in bed before going to sleep or after waking up often yields some of my best ideas. I sometimes go to get a message and, while I relax, think through a story problem. I usually find a good answer. Give it a try.
I hope something on this list will be helpful the next time you need a short creative break.
That’s all for this month. Happy writing and have a magical month.
Bryan Patrick Avery is an award-winning poet and author of more than a dozen books for children. His middle grade collective biography, BLACK MEN IN SCIENCE, illustrated by Nikita Leanne, was released in 2022. Bryan is also the author of the middle-grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery”, which appears in SUPER PUZZLETASTIC MYSTERIES, THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Jerome White, and the early chapter book series, MR. GRIZLEY’S CLASS, illustrated by Arief Putra. Bryan lives in northern California with his family.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome Aussie debut author and former student Amanda Lieber who will be focusing on Aussie kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature our new blogger coming soon.
4th Mondays features new blogger, the fabulous Brentom Jackson, who has a beautiful approach to blogging.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break