Take a Life Break on a Writing Retreat

I opened a life bank account about a year ago to help keep me productive. What's a life bank account? Well, it's like a regular account, only instead of dollars, I have hours. Or minutes. Sometimes seconds. Regardless, each day, I start fresh with twelve hours in my life bank account. It's up to me how I spend those, but this is how it typically goes..


  • 2 Hours Writing / Editing
  • 8 Hours Day Job
  • 2 Hours Family Time / Life Catch Up (chores, bills, etc)
  • 1 Hour exercise (wait, I'm already in the red??)

Look familiar?

You know what's missing?

Free creative time. A life break.

Sure, on a good day (and I mean, when I don't oversleep, am not catching up from the day before, haven't got lost in the social media vortex, or something else random doesn't pop up), I get about two hours of writing and editing time! Woot! But...that's not free creative time. That's scheduled. I have things to do, scenes to write or characters to cut or maim. 

What's missing is that thing that's essential to maintaining freshness and getting a new perspective on old ideas. Daydreaming, brainstorming, free thought association, people watching / stalking, experiencing a new thrill, discovering a new place, seeing something I've never seen before.

If I don't do those things, if I miss out on all that so-called downtime, I lose out on freshening my writing voice. I cheat myself by keeping my perspective limited, when my job as a writer is to look at an idea and twist it around into something truly original. When I cheat myself and only live according to my life bank account...I hurt my reader's experience. I force feed my readers shallow stories and overused plots, as opposed to letting them dive into the color and richness and depth of true story. 

That's why it is so essential for a writer to make an effort to go out and discover. Take a life break. Be eccentric, be fearless, be ruthless in your exploration of life. You've got readers counting on you.