by Mary C Long
Writing can be a strange job. You may have a few hours a day when you are extremely productive, but the mental energy used in your work makes it hard to sustain your top pace of work for a full business day (unless you are gifted with an exceptional attention span!). This makes breaks very important in keeping you going.
Ideally, taking a break away from your computer is the best thing to do, especially if you can combine this with going outdoors and/or getting some exercise. However, this isn't always possible and sometimes you want to take a good break online. For most people, time spent checking their Facebook or Twitter may be interesting but doesn't really feel like a true, refreshing break. What can be better is to grab a short dose of escapism.
Here are three ideas about how to do this:
Play a quick game
By this, we don't mean get engrossed in your favorite MMO or start a new quest in an RPG, but instead, just try a game that is intended to be quick and easy to pick up and put down. There are lots of games to fit the bill that you can play free on your computer including puzzle games, word games, and arcade style games.
Watch a fun non-work related video
Watching a light-hearted video on YouTube about something that interests you, such as a video about a book, TV show, movie or game you like, or a video about your hobby, can be a good way to relax for 15 minutes while you are at your computer. It can certainly take your focus away from what you are writing, and if it makes you laugh, all the better, as this will reduce stress and make you feel refreshed and ready to get back to your work. It is probably best to avoid overly educational or serious videos or videos about the topic you are working on because the idea is to let those parts of your brain have a break!
Read a short story
If you are a fan of fiction, reading a short story can be another nice use of your break that will help you clear your mind from work, deadlines and anything else that is making you feel pressured today. Sites like the online version of The New have interesting literary short stories, or there are high-quality sites for different genres like fantasy, science fiction, and romance. If you want something trashier or are part of a particular fandom, however, there is also a massive abundance of fan fiction about just about every conceivable series, movie, comic, and game, so you have an almost inexhaustible supply of stuff to read!
These ideas are all designed to let your mind come completely out of work mode, and they mean you don't have to write anything – even a tweet or Facebook comment – which is really the best approach if you are staying at your PC on a writing break!